25 October 2019

Weekend Update: Stefon on Halloween's Hottest Tips - SNL

Weekend Update: Stefon on Halloween's Hottest Tips - SNL

Stefon (Bill Hader) joins Seth Meyers on "Weekend Update" to provide New York City tourists with Halloween tips that include a club guarded by hobo-cops, Sidney Applebaum the Jewish Dracula and human pinatas. [Season 38, 2012]

04 October 2019

Choir! Choir! Choir! & Patti Smith sing "PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER" in NYC with Stewart Copeland

CONSIDERING the threat to democracy being faced by people around the world it is important to remember that we the people have the power to restore, protect and strengthen our democracies, and to encourage and support movements for democracy around the world. Enjoy this from Choir! Choir! Choir! and vote and to communicate your opinions to your elected officials by phone and I e mail. Remember, many gave their lives through military service and civil social movements for the democracy we have, don't let their sacrifice be in vain.....

Choir! Choir! Choir! & Patti Smith sing "PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER" in NYC with Stewart Copeland
On April 13, 2019, Patti Smith + Stewart Copeland (on percussion) joined Choir! Choir! Choir! at Onassis Festival 2019: Democracy Is Coming, co-presented by The Public Theatre and Onassis USA. Together, we sang Patti Smith's anthem "People Have The Power" with a sold-out crowd and Stewart Copeland played percussion, specially a Brazilian samba frying pan!
What happened was pure magic and we're still pinching ourselves. A special thanks to everyone who helped to make this moment happen. Enjoy! #UseYourVoice

14 September 2019

DEMOCRACY NOW! Leading Presidential Candidates Square Off in Third Democratic Debate 13SEP19

Leading Presidential Candidates Square Off in Third Democratic Debate

Image Credit: ABC
The 10 leading Democratic presidential candidates appeared for the first time on the same stage Thursday night at a debate at Texas Southern University in Houston. It was the third debate of the primary season, but it marked the first time former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren took part in the same debate. Biden repeatedly faced criticism for his healthcare plans and for his vote to support the war in Iraq.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The 10 leading Democratic presidential candidates appeared for the first time on the same stage Thursday night at a debate at Texas Southern University in Houston. It was the third debate of the primary season but marked the first time that former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren took part in the same debate. Biden repeatedly defended the policies of former President Obama as he clashed with his rivals. In one of the most contentious moments of the debate, Obama’s former Housing Secretary Julián Castro questioned Biden’s memory during an exchange about their healthcare plans.
JOE BIDEN: The option I’m proposing is a Medicare for All in a Medicare for choice. If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance company — from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don’t have — no pre-existing condition can stop you from buying in. You get covered, period.
JULIÁN CASTRO: I want every single American family to have a strong Medicare plan available. If they choose to hold onto strong, solid private health insurance, I believe they should be able to do that. But the difference between what I support and what you support, Vice President Biden, is that you require them to opt in, and I would not require them to opt in. They would automatically be enrolled. They wouldn’t have to buy in. That’s a big difference, because Barack Obama’s vision was not to leave 10 million people uncovered. He wanted every single person in this country covered. My plan would do that; your plan would not.
JOE BIDEN: They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in.
JULIÁN CASTRO: You just said that. You just said —
JULIÁN CASTRO: — that two minutes ago. You just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy in.
JOE BIDEN: They do not have to buy in if they can’t afford it.
JULIÁN CASTRO: You said they would have to buy in.
JOE BIDEN: Your grandmother would not have to buy in. If she qualifies for Medicaid —
JULIÁN CASTRO: Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?
JOE BIDEN: — she’d automatically be in for it.
JULIÁN CASTRO: Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in, and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy.
JOE BIDEN: No, no.
JULIÁN CASTRO: You’re forgetting that.
AMY GOODMAN: After the debate, The Washington Post questioned the accuracy of Castro’s comments. The Post reports he was incorrect that Biden forgot something about his own plan; it was Castro who forgot what Biden said.
Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke received some of the loudest applause of the night when he discussed enacting new gun control measures after the two recent mass shootings in Texas.
BETO O’ROURKE: And in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15. And that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour, because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time. Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On the foreign policy front, Senator Bernie Sanders chided Joe Biden for voting to support the war in Iraq.
JOE BIDEN: With regard to — with regard to Iraq, the fact of the matter is that, you know, I should have never voted to give Bush the authority to go in and do what he said he was going to do. The AUMF was designed, he said, to go in and get the Security Council to vote 15 to nothing to allow inspectors to go in to determine whether or not anything was being done with chemical weapons or nuclear weapons. And when that happened, he went ahead and went anyway without any of that proof. I said something that was not meant the way I said it.
SENBERNIE SANDERS: Let me just comment on something that the vice president said. You talked about the big mistake in Iraq and the surge. The truth is, the big mistake, the huge mistake, and one of the big differences between you and me, I never believed what Cheney and Bush said about Iraq.
JOE BIDEN: You’re right.
SENBERNIE SANDERS: I voted against the war in Iraq and helped lead the opposition. And it’s sad to say, I mean, I kind of, you know, had the feeling that there would be massive destabilization in that area if we went into that war.
AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, Senator Biden criticized Sanders’ plan for Medicare for All.
JOE BIDEN: And if you noticed, nobody has yet said how much it’s going to cost the taxpayer. I hear this large savings. The president thinks — my friend from Vermont thinks that the employer’s going to give you back, if you negotiated as union all these years, got a cut in wages because you got insurance. They’re going to give back that money to the employee?
SENBERNIE SANDERS: Matter of fact, they will, in our bill.
JOE BIDEN: Well, let me tell you something: For a socialist, you’ve got a — for a socialist, you’ve got a lot more confidence of corporate America than I do.
SENBERNIE SANDERS: OK. One minute, George?
SENBERNIE SANDERS: All right. Two points.
SENBERNIE SANDERS: You’ve got to defend the fact that today not only do we have 87 million people uninsured and underinsured, you’ve got to defend the fact that 500,000 Americans are going bankrupt. You know why they’re going bankrupt? Because they suffered a terrible disease: cancer or heart disease. Under my legislation, people will not go into financial ruin because they suffered with a diagnosis of cancer. And our program is the only one that does that.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And in one of the more unusual debate moments, the tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang unveiled a plan that may violate campaign finance laws.
ANDREW YANG: It’ time to trust ourselves more than our politicians. That’s why I’m going to do something unprecedented tonight. My campaign will now give a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for an entire year to 10 American families, someone watching this at home right now. If you believe that you can solve your own problems better than any politician, go to and tell us how $1,000 a month will help you do just that.
AMY GOODMAN: When we come back, we’ll hear clips from the ABC/Univision debate and host a roundtable discussion. This is Democracy Now! Back in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: “Tomorrow Is the Question!” by Ornette Coleman. This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: As we continue to look at the third Democratic debate, we’re joined by three guests. Joining us in Houston, where the debate was held, Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL, a Houston-based nonprofit that helps undocumented members of the city’s Latino community. He attended last night’s debate. And in Philadelphia, Julian Brave NoiseCat, a journalist who belongs to the Secwepemc and St’at’imc Nations. He’s the director of the Green New Deal strategy at the think tank Data for Progress. And in Washington is Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change.
I wanted to begin with Cesar. Your reaction? You were there at the debate. Talk to us about your immediate sense of how the debate went.
CESAR ESPINOSA: Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me.
I think there could have been a lot more substance in terms of our issue, which is the issue of immigration. Many topics that were talked about were talked about very broadly. But when it came to actually putting immigrants into the conversation, a lot of the candidates failed to do so. I mean, and this covers the gamut of education, healthcare and, obviously, immigration reform.
The other thing that really we were disheartened by was the fact that a single candidate did not really have the answers to a very necessary problem that we have now, which is the issue of immigration reform. Many of them talked about broad strokes, about a potential plan. But in concrete, a detailed plan of how we’re going to bring 11.5 million people out of the shadows, how we’re going to bring 1 million DREAMers and TPS recipients out of the shadows, was not really talked about in substance.
We do applaud the fact that Julián Castro talked about a TPS for Venezuelans, but we would also have liked to see talks about a TPS for the Bahamian people, who are right now suffering one of the biggest crises, if not the biggest crisis, the country has faced.
AMY GOODMAN: We want to also turn to Rashad Robinson in Washington, D.C. You’re there for the Congressional Black Caucus major gathering this weekend. But you watched the debate last night. Talk about what you felt was most significant.
RASHAD ROBINSON: I think what’s most significant, and what continued to be most significant, that, yes, these debates give us an opportunity to see where the candidates stand, where the country stands, and have the candidates talk about these issues in broad ways, and maybe sometimes in detailed ways. But there’s a real gap between the what and the how. This is not simply about the sort of fine details of the individual candidates’ campaigns, because, in fact, you know, if you go to the polls and vote for Biden, you’re not going to necessarily get Biden’s healthcare plan. If you go to the polls and vote for Bernie, you’re not going to necessarily get Bernie’s healthcare plan.
The gap between what’s in their proposal and the actual how it’s going to get done and how they’re actually going to move it is actually where movements come into play. And we’re not looking for a candidate who’s going to be the leader of our movements. We need candidates that understand how to work with our movements, how to engage our movements. In fact, one of the big challenges in ’08 is that Obama came into office and really tried to build his own movement, tried to be the leader of the movement.
I do think, for all of these candidates, the ability to actually get these policies done, inside of a system that is deeply entrenched with corporations and all sort of incentive structures that will stand in the way of the type of progress that pushes back against the profiteers and all of those that are standing in the way of progress, really requires us to have the type of people power to get it done. And that actually is how we have an honest conversation. And unfortunately, the back-and-forth sometimes about individual details is for naught, if we don’t actually have the real conversation about power and how we leverage power and leverage everyday people to actually get these things done.
AMY GOODMAN: And, Julian Brave NoiseCat, your overall response to the debate, what was and wasn’t included?
JULIAN BRAVE NOISECAT: You know, I think that the prior two guests raised some really important questions. You know, the issue area questions, especially about immigration in a place like Houston in the context of the climate crisis, incredibly important. How the candidates plan to actually enact their policies, also very important.
I was struck personally by the talent on stage last night. You know, I’m a millennial. I scroll Twitter. And I saw that folks were comparing Team Blue to The Avengers. And I guess the question is, if we’re going to run with that analogy, you know: Which episode of The Avengers is it? Is it, you know, Endgame or Infinity War? Are we going to beat Thanos this time, or are we not? And within the party, you know, is there enough young talent to take on someone like Joe Biden and maybe even win the nomination? And, you know, I was very impressed by the talking points put forward by a number of rising voices in the party, but I think whether one of those folks can rise to the top and become the nominee is still a very open question.

“Racism in America Is Endemic”: Democratic Candidates Vow to Confront White Supremacy & Legacy of Slavery

Image Credit: ABC
During the third Democratic debate Thursday night, the discussion of race and racism got personal for former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who brought up last month’s El Paso massacre. He said the white gunman who killed 22 people, mostly Latinos, had driven to the border city “to kill people who look like me.” Former Texas Congressmember Beto O’Rourke, who is from El Paso, said racism is endemic and foundational of the United States. He mentioned that this year will mark the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved African being brought to America, and promised he would create a slavery reparations commission.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask Rashad Robinson on the issue of race, which was discussed quite extensively at the debate, especially the moment that Beto O’Rourke really had one of the highlight moments of the debate. I wanted to go to when the moderator Linsey Davis asked Beto O’Rourke a question about race.
JULIÁN CASTRO: Look, a few weeks ago, a shooter drove 10 miles, inspired by this — 10 hours, inspired by this president, to kill people who look like me and people who look like my family. White supremacy is a growing threat to this country, and we have to root it out. I’m proud that I put forward a plan to disarm hate. I’m also proud that I was the first to put forward a police reform plan, because we’re not going to have any more Laquan McDonalds or Eric Garners or Michael Browns or Pamela Turners or Walter Scotts or Sandra Bland, here from the Houston area.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was a glitch there. That was Julián Castro speaking, not Beto O’Rourke. I think we’ve got Beto O’Rourke now.
BETO O’ROURKE: Racism in America is endemic. It is foundational. We can mark the creation of this country not at the Fourth of July, 1776, but August 20th, 1619, when the first kidnapped African was brought to this country against his will and in bondage, and, as a slave, built the greatness and the success and the wealth that neither he nor his descendants would ever be able to fully participate in and enjoy.
We have to be able to answer this challenge. And it is found in our education system, where in Texas a 5-year-old child in kindergarten is five times as likely to be disciplined or suspended or expelled based on the color of their skin; in our healthcare system, where there’s a maternal mortality crisis three times as deadly for women of color; or the fact that there’s 10 times the wealth in white America than there is in black America.
I’m going to follow Sheila Jackson Lee’s lead and sign into law a reparations bill that will allow us to address this at its foundations. But we will also call out the fact that we have a white supremacist in the White House, and he poses a mortal threat to people of color all across this country.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Beto O’Rourke last night. Rashad Robinson, your reaction and the fact that we have several presidential candidates who are talking about reparations, first time really in memory, in a presidential race?
RASHAD ROBINSON: I mean, it really is incredible. And it is actually a result of movements, a result of, you know, the narrative change that’s been built. Narrative change is about the rules and norms of society, what people see is acceptable and what people can envision is possible. And on the main stage inside of a presidential debate, you have candidates talking about very clear policies that are going to impact the black community, but actually talking about the historical context of how we got here, talking about reparations, talking about slavery in very clear ways, using the term “white supremacist” on the national stage and talking about white supremacy and white nationalism. I mean, this is a fundamental change from the sort of rules, the unwritten rules, of these debates that used to exist, that you had to talk around race, or you couldn’t talk directly about race and be considered a kind of legitimate top-tier candidate. That is a result of how we’ve moved this country.
It’s also the result of, I think, a lot of people waking up to the failures of the left, at avoiding these conversations about race. Unfortunately, our opponents talk about race all the time — not in ways that we want them to, but they are talking about race all the time. And so, leaving this conversation to our opponents, pretending like we can talk about solving the ills that are deeply about structural racism without talking about race, is something that I’m so glad that so many candidates are speaking up about. And that Beto —
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to New Jersey —
RASHAD ROBINSON: And that Beto O’Rourke’s moment was just, I think, his finest moment of the night.
AMY GOODMAN: And let’s go to New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.
SENCORY BOOKER: And it’s nice to go all the way back to slavery, but, dear god, we have a criminal justice system that is so racially biased, we have more African Americans under criminal supervision today than all the slaves in 1850. We have to come at this issue attacking systemic racism, having the courage to call it out, and having a plan to do something about it.
If I am president of the United States, we will create an office in the White House to deal with the problem of white supremacy and hate crimes. And we will make sure that systemic racism is dealt with in substantive plans, from criminal justice reform to the disparities in healthcare, to even one that we don’t talk about enough, which is the racism that we see in environmental injustice in communities of color all around this country.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. Julian Brave NoiseCat, if you can respond to what he said?
JULIAN BRAVE NOISECAT: I thought that Senator Booker bringing environmental injustice and racism into the conversation was a major moment for the environmental movement, broadly speaking, in this country. It really stuck out to me. You know, there has been a long history of people of color fighting the disproportionate siting of waste sites, pipelines and hazardous materials in our communities. It’s ongoing. It’s deeply rooted in Houston. And the fact that the senator brought that into the conversation last night was, I would say, a mark of success for the communities of color that have been fighting these issues.
I just thought it was too bad that, actually, the broader issues of environmental degradation and climate change didn’t get more attention than they deserved, in Houston, of course, the center of the fossil fuel-based economy, a place where, as you noted in the lede to the show, you know, protesters were blocking oil tankers into the port. So I thought that that was a great moment, but one wherein we could have had more conversation about these very important issues, in a place where they really need to happen.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, last night’s debate, as we mentioned, was held at Texas Southern University in Houston. Let’s go to California Senator Kamala Harris.
SENKAMALA HARRIS: I also want to talk about where we are, here at TSU, and what it means in terms of HBCUs. I have, as part of my proposal, that we will put $2 trillion into investing in our HBCUs for teachers, because — because — because, one, as a proud graduate of a historically black college and university, I will say — I will say that it is our HBCUs that disproportionately produce teachers and those who serve in these many professions. But also —
LINSEY DAVIS: Thank you, Senator.
SENKAMALA HARRIS: But this is a critical point: If a black child has a black teacher before the end of third grade, they are 13% more likely to go to college. If that child has had two black teachers before the end of third grade, they are 32% more likely to go to college. So, when we talk about investing in our public education system, it is at the source of so much, when we fix it, that will fix so many other things.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Senator Kamala Harris. Of course, she was referring — she was a graduate of Howard University. I wanted to ask, again, Rashad Robinson, your response to her remarks?
RASHAD ROBINSON: I mean, I think that, once again, this is — this is a recognition of the type of culture change that we are having in this country, where these candidates recognize that they have to come with deep narratives about how they’re going to deal with race, but actually clear and specific policies. And that is incredibly important.
And, you know, her recognition of the role that public education has played in the advancement of black folks in the closing of racial gaps in this country is incredibly important. And also, I think that we just need to hear more, from all these candidates, specifically on education. Since 1980 in this country, the geographic segregation in our country, the way that public education has dealt with — we are in positions where we are going back to before Brown v. the Board of Education. And that type of segregation in our schools has directly aligned with the type of funding. And so, I am glad that we are talking about what type of investments are going to be made in schools that serve students of color, black students, Latino students, immigrants. I think it’s incredibly important.
And once again, this is not just a question of the what, but this is a question of the how, because the reason why schools have been privatized in cities around this country, the reason why we have underinvestment in our schools, is because corporate profiteers have been able to move the resources that are public into private hands of hedge fund managers and so many others, using attacks on teachers, using attacks on parents and communities, as a vehicle to do this. So, absolutely, we need investment. I believe in these proposals. But how are we going to deal with all of the incentive structures that have been put in place that are making money off the current system, that have to be broken in order for us to achieve the type of success and goals that these policies claim that they’re going to give us?

Should Latinos Trust Biden? Former VP Refuses to Criticize Obama’s Deportation of 3 Million People

Image Credit: ABC
Debate moderator Jorge Ramos of Univision grilled former Vice President Joe Biden over the Obama administration’s deportation record. Biden refused to answer whether he did anything to prevent Obama from deporting a record 3 million people.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: During the debate, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos asked former Vice President Joe Biden about the Obama administration’s record on immigration.
JORGE RAMOS: Vice President Biden, as a presidential candidate in 2008, you supported the border wall, saying, “Unlike most Democrats, I voted for 700 miles of fence.” This is what you said. Then you served as vice president in an administration that deported 3 million people, the most ever in U.S. history. Did you do anything to prevent those deportations? I mean, you’ve been asked this question before and refused to answer, so let me try once again. Are you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake about deportations? Why should Latinos trust you?
JOE BIDEN: What Latinos should look at is, comparing this president to the president we have is outrageous, number one. We didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families. We didn’t do all of those things, number one.
Number two — number two, by the time — this is the president who came along with the DACA program. No one had ever done that before. This is a president who sent legislation to desk saying he wants to find a pathway for the 11 million undocumented in the United States of America. This is a president who’s done a great deal. So I’m proud to have served with him.
What I would do as president is several more things, because things have changed. I would, in fact, make sure that there is — we immediately surge to the border. All those people are seeking asylum. They deserve to be heard. That’s who we are. We’re a nation that says if you want to flee and you’re fleeing oppression, you should come. I would change the order that the president just changed saying women who were being beaten and abused could no longer claim that as a reason for asylum.
And by the way, retrospectively, you know, the 25th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act is up. The Republican Congress has not reauthorized it. Let’s put pressure on them to pass the Violence Against Women Act now. But then we go back.
JORGE RAMOS: Yeah, but you didn’t answer the question. The question is: Did you make a —
JOE BIDEN: Well, yeah, I did answer the question.
JORGE RAMOS: No. Did you make a mistake with those deportations?
JOE BIDEN: The president did the best thing that was able to be done at the time.
JORGE RAMOS: How about you?
JOE BIDEN: I’m the vice president of the United States.
AMY GOODMAN: Later in the debate, Julián Castro criticized Biden’s response.
JULIÁN CASTRO: But my problem with Vice President Biden — and Cory pointed this out last time — is, every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, “Oh, I was there, I was there, I was there. That’s me, too.” And then, every time somebody questions part of the administration, that we were both part of, he says, “Well, that was the president.” I mean, he wants to take credit for Obama’s work but not have to answer to any questions.
AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s Julián Castro. Cesar Espinosa, you were at the debate last night. We’re talking to you in Houston. Can you talk about their response?
CESAR ESPINOSA: Well, we were very — once again, we were very disheartened by Joe Biden’s response, because he did not take responsibility for what he did and what he and Obama did under the Obama presidency. It is important to point out that up until this point — even though Trump is well on his way to surpass the number of deportations, up until this point, Obama is still the sitting president that has deported the most people in U.S. history. So, it is important that we hold Biden accountable, because he did have a say when he was vice president under President Obama.
So, we want to applaud Julián for calling that out, for making sure that we hold all elected officials accountable. And later on in the debate, he said that we must hold people accountable for their actions. And that’s what we want to do. There’s been groups that have been calling out Biden for his record on deportations and for the fact that he cannot deny that there was 3 million people, 3 million families that were broken up, under the Obama-Biden presidency.
So, our fear is that if he does win the nomination, if he does make it into the White House, that it will be more and more of the same thing, more enforcement. And obviously, we — a lot of our folks in our community find it really disturbing that he actually supported the border wall, or building of a border wall, when he has criticized Trump for doing the same thing. So, we want to see more transparency. We want to hold — see more accountability. And we hope that different groups all over the country continue to raise this issue, and specifically with [Vice] President Biden, since he is the front-runner at this moment.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: During the debate, some immigration activists disrupted the discussion. They chanted, “We are DACA recipients. Our lives are at risk.” Unfortunately, they couldn’t be heard by the TV audience, and it also came later on in the debate.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: What’s the most significant professional setback you’ve had to face? How did you recover from it? And what did you learn from it? Vice President Biden?
JOE BIDEN: I never count any professional setback I have as a serious setback. There’s things that are important, things that are unimportant.
PROTESTERS: We are DACA recipients! Our lives are at risk! [inaudible]
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to clear the protesters now. Just one minute.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Those were the immigrant rights protesters. Cesar, you were there. What did you see? And what was the reaction of the crowd?
AMY GOODMAN: And what were they saying?
CESAR ESPINOSA: Well, it was a coordinated effort by an unknown group, to me, of folks who were — who just, all of a sudden, got up and started chanting. At first it was very difficult to hear. But when they started taking them off the stage, because they made it all the way up to the stage, we saw their shirts, that they talked about DACA. And they were, in fact, chanting that, to protect DACA, because if they were to be deported, their lives would be at risk.
And they did it at the moment when Vice President Biden started speaking, because, once again, we want to make sure that we hold Vice President Biden accountable for the fact that he has deported — and even though the DACA program did come under President Obama, the fact that 3 million people, 3 million families were separated does not outweigh the cost of providing 700,000 undocumented youth a work permit under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
So, they were escorted out at one point. We have petitioned the police chief. We don’t know the status of these young folks yet, but we have petitioned the chief of police, Art Acevedo, to not press charges, because even that could put their status at risk. They could lose DACA status if they were to be arrested. So, we hope that these folks were freed and let go. And once again, they just wanted to get a point across. They did no harm to anybody. And all they wanted was to hold Vice President Biden accountable for the fact that he deported 3 million people when he was vice president under President Obama.
AMY GOODMAN: Cesar Espinosa is executive director of FIEL, a Houston-based nonprofit that helps undocumented members of Houston’s Latino community — Houston, where the debate was held. Rashad Robinson is president of Color of Change. And we’re joined by Julian Brave NoiseCat, journalist who’s director of the Green New Deal strategy at the think tank Data for Progress. We’ll continue with them and with highlights of the debate in a minute.

Bernie Sanders on Democratic Socialism: We Want to Create an Economy That Works for All of Us

Image Credit: ABC
After being questioned about the crisis in Venezuela, Senator Bernie Sanders defended his vision of democratic socialism. “I agree with what goes on in Canada and in Scandinavia: guaranteeing healthcare to all people as a human right. I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on Earth not to provide paid family and medical leave,” Sanders said. “I believe that every worker in this country deserves a living wage and that we expand the trade union movement.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, as we continue to cover the Democratic debate in Houston, I’d like to turn to a moment when the Univision anchor Jorge Ramos was questioning Senator Bernie Sanders. But I wanted to first preface this by saying a lot of people know Univision, and they know that Univision has always been reporting extensively on the plight of immigrants in the United States. But a lot of folks who don’t know Spanish and follow Univision — who don’t follow Univision regularly don’t know that also Univision’s role in terms of reporting on Latin America has always been to bash socialist or progressive or populist governments in Latin America. So it’s no surprise to those of us who regularly watch Univision that Jorge Ramos would ask Bernie Sanders this question about Venezuela and democratic socialism.
JORGE RAMOS: Senator Sanders, one country where many immigrants are arriving from is Venezuela. A recent U.N. fact-finding mission found that thousands have been disappeared, tortured and killed by government forces in Venezuela. You admit that Venezuela does not have free elections, but still you refuse to call Nicolás Maduro un dictador, a dictator. Can you explain why? And what are the main differences between your kind of socialism and the one being imposed in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua?
SENBERNIE SANDERS: Well, first of all, let me be very clear. Anybody who does what Maduro does is a vicious tyrant. What we need now is international and regional cooperation for free elections in Venezuela so that the people of that country can make — can create their own future.
In terms of democratic socialism, to equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair. I’ll tell you what I believe in terms of democratic socialism. I agree with what goes on in Canada and in Scandinavia: guaranteeing healthcare to all people as a human right. I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on Earth not to provide paid family and medical leave. I believe that every worker in this country deserves a living wage and that we expand the trade union movement.
I happen to believe also that what, to me, democratic socialism means is we deal with an issue we do not discuss enough, Jorge, not in the media and not in Congress. You’ve got three people in America owning more wealth than the bottom half of this country. You’ve got a handful of billionaires controlling what goes on in Wall Street, the insurance companies and in the media. Maybe, just maybe, what we should be doing is creating —
JORGE RAMOS: Thank you.
SENBERNIE SANDERS: — an economy that works for all of us, not 1%. That’s my understanding of democratic socialism.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Julian Brave NoiseCat, I wanted to ask you, this whole issue of — now a couple of debates now, the issue of democratic socialism being raised by the moderators to try to pin one or the other candidates on that issue?
JULIAN BRAVE NOISECAT: So, you know, I answer this question as — you know, I have bylines in both Jacobin and Dissent and subscribe to both of those magazines, which would be identified as left or socialist. You know, I have many friends who have gotten engaged in the Democratic Socialists of America. And generally speaking, I would say that there is, particularly among millennials, increasing interest in socialism, particularly because we lived through — you know, one of our formative experiences was, first, the recession and crisis of 2008, and then, of course, the campaign of Senator Sanders in 2016. So I think that, you know, socialism is a rising political force in this country.
But it is true that, you know, which kind of socialism we are fighting for, what our vision for a socialist movement might be, is a relevant sort of issue — right? — because there are, you know, troubling legacies of socialist regimes around the country. And I think that — you know, I was in Washington, D.C., actually, back in May, when Senator Sanders gave his speech on democratic socialism and made clear what he means when he embraces that term, and that he’s talking about the legacies of people like FDR. You know, he’s talking about the legacies of people who fight for universal human rights, the right to healthcare, the right to housing, economic and social rights. And I think that, you know, continuing to distinguish that this is exactly what the broader left, generally, and then what the socialist movement, in particular, is pushing for is an important thing. And, you know, I think it’s great that that kind of a message is getting shared on cable news. So, you know, the question might have been unfair, but I thought that the senator handled it well.
AMY GOODMAN: And very quickly, Julian Brave NoiseCat, on the issue of ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a whole group of members of the Gwich’in Steering Committee traveled to Washington to lobby for the drilling ban, as the House of Representatives voted to block President Trump from opening up ANWR to link oil and gas exploration. The significance of this?
JULIAN BRAVE NOISECAT: You know, so, last night, one of the big underlying questions is what the broader Democratic coalition is going to look like. And one thing that was very disappointing to me is that not a single candidate, not a diverse candidate, not one of the older candidates, not when we talked about immigration, brought up the reality of Native people in this country. And one of the big issues that we face is the degradation of our homelands. And the attack by the fossil fuel industry, by the Republican Party, on the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge is one of those major issues. And, you know, I would be very hopeful that candidates would try to speak to those issues in the future and on the debate stage, moving forward.

Elizabeth Warren Calls for Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan

Image Credit: ABC
At the third presidential primary debate in Houston, Texas, senator and 2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Warren also spoke about her stance on U.S. trade policy and how “our trade policy in America has been broken for decades.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Let’s go back to last night’s debate. This is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
SENELIZABETH WARREN: So, our trade policy in America has been broken for decades. And it has been broken because it works for giant multinational corporations and not for much of anyone else. These are giant corporations that, shoot, if they can save a nickel by moving a job to a foreign country, they’ll do it in a heartbeat. And yet, for decades now, who’s been whispering in the ears of our trade negotiators? Who has shaped our trade policy? It’s been the giant corporations. It’s been their lobbyists and their executives.
The way we change our trade policy in America is, first, the procedures, who sits at the table. I want to negotiate trade with unions at the table. I want to negotiate it with small farmers at the table. I want to negotiate it with environmentalists at the table. I want to negotiate with human rights activists at the table.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And that was Elizabeth Warren on trade. And here’s Elizabeth Warren talking about Afghanistan.
SENELIZABETH WARREN: What we’re doing right now in Afghanistan is not helping the safety and security of the United States. It is not helping the safety and security of the world. It is not helping the safety and security of Afghanistan. We need to bring our troops home.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Rashad Robinson, your reaction to some of these moments in Elizabeth Warren at the debate last night?
RASHAD ROBINSON: I mean, I think it’s deeply powerful that we have candidates on the stage willing to talk about corporate power, you know, on corporate media. I mean, a lot of why we had certain questions, if you look at the conversation earlier about the Jorge Ramos questions — right? — those are deeply also rooted in the fact of who gets to control the platforms that these debates are had on. We are already playing on a field, we’re already talking on a platform, that is controlled by a set of elites that don’t want the type of radical change that’s going to lift all boats.
And so, the fact that Elizabeth Warren is willing to go on these platforms, willing to talk about corporate power, willing to talk about how she will want these folks at the table — but it’s not simply about being at the table. It’s about fundamentally changing the table. And changing the table, once again, requires these candidates to articulate and be connected to how they’re going to work with, engage and empower movements to do so.
Part of why a school of white children can get shot up and no meaningful reform on guns happens, even though the vast majority of Americans want it, is because the movements on the right have made it possible for politicians to believe that they can’t make those type of changes, even if they believe it’s possible.
And so, what are we going to build on the left that is powerful enough? And how are our candidates going to be accountable to those movements and connected to those movements? Because only then do we turn the vision of the ideas, the vision of the polls, the vision of what we believe as possible into the actual reality. People drive the type of change that’s possible, not politicians alone.

Medicare for All: Sanders & Warren Defend Plan to Expand Healthcare Coverage to Everyone

Image Credit: ABC
At Thursday’s debate, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren defended their Medicare for All plan. They faced criticism from several rivals, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, who described it as a “bad idea,” and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who claimed the bill shows Sanders and Warren do not “trust the American people.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to turn to our last clip, which is actually the beginning of the whole debate last night, and it was around the issue of Medicare for All. This is Senator Amy Klobuchar.
SENAMY KLOBUCHAR: And while Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill. And on page eight — on page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it. And that means that 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance. That’s in four years. I don’t think that’s a bold idea; I think it’s a bad idea.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Page eight of the bill, she says, 149 people will lose their health insurance.
SENELIZABETH WARREN: What this is about is making sure that we have the most efficient way possible to pay for healthcare for everyone in this country. Insurance companies last year sucked $23 billion in profits out of the system. How did they make that money? Every one of those $23 billion was made by an insurance company saying no to your healthcare coverage.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: The problem, Senator Sanders, with that damn bill that you wrote, and that Senator Warren backs, is that it doesn’t trust the American people. I trust you to choose what makes the most sense for you, not my way or the highway. Now, look, I think we do have to go far beyond tinkering with the ACA. I propose Medicare for all who want it.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Sanders, 45 seconds.
SENBERNIE SANDERS: George, you talked about — was it 150 million people on private insurance? Fifty million of those people lose their private insurance every year when they quit their jobs or they go unemployed or their employer changes their insurance policy.
Medicare for All is comprehensive healthcare, covers all basic needs, including home healthcare. It allows you to go to any doctor you want, which many private insurance company programs do not. So, if you want comprehensive healthcare, freedom of choice regarding doctor or hospital, no more than $200 a year for prescription drugs, taking on the drug companies and the insurance companies, moving to Medicare for All is the way to go.
AMY GOODMAN: Just some of the candidates speaking last night in Houston at the historically black college, Texas Southern University, in their third major Democratic debate. That last person, of course, was Senator Bernie Sanders; before that, Indiana South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.
I want to thank our guests for being with us, Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL, a Houston-based nonprofit that helps undocumented members of the Latino community in Houston; Julian Brave NoiseCat, director of the Green New Deal strategy at the think tank Data for Progress; and Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change.
And that does it for our show. Today we will be covering Greta Thunberg, with many others, outside the White House for this Friday for Future, the protest around climate change that’s been taking place around the globe. To go to our hour on Greta Thunberg, go to I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.
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Sanders & Warren Fight “Republican Talking Point” That Medicare for All Is About Reducing Coverage

STORYJULY 31, 2019
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Ten Democratic presidential candidates took to the stage in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday night for the first of a two-night debate hosted by CNN. The debate began with an extended discussion on healthcare, where progressive candidates Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren defended their platforms of Medicare for All against more moderate candidates who argued this stance is political suicide. We speak with Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, former Michigan gubernatorial candidate.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Ten Democratic presidential candidates took to the stage in Detroit, Michigan, Tuesday night for the first of a two-night debate hosted by CNN. The evening was billed as the first showdown between the two leading progressives in the race—Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—but the two never criticized each other and spent much of the evening fending off attacks by a group of moderate rivals, including former Maryland Congressman John Delaney. This is Elizabeth Warren.
SENELIZABETH WARREN: Democrats win when we figure out what is right and we get out there and fight for it. I am not afraid. And for Democrats to win, you can’t be afraid, either.
JAKE TAPPER: Congressman Delaney, your response?
JOHN DELANEY: So, I think Democrats win when we run on real solutions, not impossible promises, when we run on things that are workable, not fairy-tale economics.
SENELIZABETH WARREN: You know, I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for. I don’t get it. Our biggest problem in Washington is corruption. It is giant corporations that have taken our government and that are holding it by the throat. And we need to have the courage to fight back against that. And until we’re ready to do that, it’s just more of the same.
AMY GOODMAN: The first of the two Democratic primary debates began with an extended discussion on healthcare. This is CNN’s Jake Tapper.
JAKE TAPPER: Senator Sanders, let’s start with you. You support Medicare for All, which would eventually take private health insurance away from more than 150 million Americans in exchange for government-sponsored healthcare for everyone. Congressman Delaney just referred to it as “bad policy,” and previously he has called the idea “political suicide that will just get President Trump re-elected.” What do you say to Congressman Delaney?
SENBERNIE SANDERS: You’re wrong. Right now we have a dysfunctional healthcare system—87 million uninsured or underinsured, $500,000—500,000 Americans every year going bankrupt because of medical bills, 30,000 people dying while the healthcare industry makes tens of billions of dollars in profit.
Five minutes away from here, John, is a country. It’s called Canada. They guarantee healthcare to every man, woman and child as a human right. They spend half of what we spend. And by the way, when you end up in a hospital in Canada, you come out with no bill at all. Healthcare is a human right, not a privilege. I believe that. I will fight for that.
JAKE TAPPER: Thank you, Senator Sanders. Congressman Delaney?
JOHN DELANEY: Well, I’m right about this. We can create a universal healthcare system to give everyone basic healthcare for free, and I have a proposal to do it. But we don’t have to go around and be the party of subtraction and telling half the country, who has private health insurance, that their health insurance is illegal. My dad, the union electrician, loved the healthcare he got from the IBEW. He would never want someone to take that away. Half of Medicare beneficiaries now have Medicare Advantage, which is private insurance, or supplemental plans. It’s also bad policy. It’ll underfund the industry. Many hospitals will close.
JAKE TAPPER: Thank you, Congressman.
JOHN DELANEY: And it’s bad policy.
JAKE TAPPER: Senator Warren?
SENELIZABETH WARREN: So, look, let’s be clear about this. We are the Democrats. We are not about trying to take away healthcare from anyone. That’s what the Republicans are trying to do. And we should stop using Republican talking points in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that healthcare.
Now, I want to have a chance to tell the story about my friend Ady Barkan. Ady is 35 years old. He has a wife, Rachael. He has a cute little boy named Carl. He also has ALS, and it’s killing him. Ady has health insurance, good health insurance.
JAKE TAPPER: Senator. …
SENELIZABETH WARREN: This is somebody who has health insurance and is dying. And every month he has about $9,000 in medical bills that his insurance company won’t cover. His wife Rachael is on the phone for hours and hours and hours, begging the insurance company, “Please cover what the doctors say he needs.” He talks about what it’s like to go online, with thousands of other people, to beg friends, family and strangers for money so he can cover his medical expenses. The basic profit model of an insurance company is take in as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible in healthcare coverage. That is not working—
JAKE TAPPER: Thank you.
SENELIZABETH WARREN: —for Americans across this country.
JAKE TAPPER: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: So, that is Senator Elizabeth Warren and, before that, former Congressmember Delaney and Bernie Sanders.
We begin today’s show in Michigan, where the first of the two nights of the presidential primary debate are taking place. But we’re going to Ann Arbor to speak with Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. He ran for governor in Michigan last year, and in September of 2018 he founded the political action committee Southpaw Michigan to help elect other progressive candidates in Michigan. So, Doctor, they started with healthcare. Your response?
DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED: That is the place to start. I spent the last 18 months of my life, while I was running, talking to people about the issues that they talk about with their families at the dinner table. And there is no doubt that among folks who are suffering chronic diseases, the kind that most Americans are suffering from, they are frustrated with a private health insurance system that is just not working for them. Instead, it’s working for the CEOs, who are making tens of millions of dollars a year on a system that is intended to squeeze profits out of people who are sick. And that’s just not working. And so, if we don’t have real solutions to that problem, then the question has to be: What are we doing here?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Dr. El-Sayed, in terms of some of the—some of the moderate Democratic candidates kept pointing to the existing private health insurance system that many people were satisfied, especially union-negotiated plans. But the reality is that there are major, major problems, as both Senators Sanders and Elizabeth Warren said, about the—not only the skimpiness of some of this coverage, but also the complexity, what people have to go through to get their insurance companies to pay, to pay bills.
DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED: Yeah. So, you know, there’s this Republican talking point that unfortunately has crept into the mouths of a lot of, quote-unquote, “moderate” Democrats, and it says that progressives want to take away your health insurance. Now, here’s the thing. I love ice cream. And if somebody gave me an extremely soggy cone with, you know, a little bit of vanilla on it and then said, “You know what? Actually, actually, let me take that back, and let me give you a really nice double scoop with all your favorite flavors,” I would be pretty happy about that. Now, in the process, they might take away my ice cream. And that’s exactly what these moderate Democrats are saying.
We have got to remember that this is not about taking away anything. This is about replacing the system that we have, that has been corrupted by a set of corporations who are interested in profiteering off of very sick people, and replacing it with a system that is more akin to almost every other high-income country in the world, that would provide us access to high-quality healthcare, where we could see any doctor we wanted, without having to worry about basic things like these premiums and copays and deductibles and getting on the phone with private insurance bureaucrats to talk about why it is that we should get the care that we already paid for.
This is a responsibility that we have as a society to finally solve this problem. We’ve been trying to do it for the past 70 years. And right now is the time where people are standing up. I am proud to see people like Senator Warren and Senator Sanders, who put this debate on the table, fighting for that issue right now. This is the responsibility we have. It’s not about taking away; it is about replacing with better.
AMY GOODMAN: You mentioned the candidates taking on Republican talking points. Bernie Sanders talked about CNN doing the same. This is what he said.
JAKE TAPPER: Senator Sanders, then Senator Warren, because you both were mentioned. Senator Sanders?
SENBERNIE SANDERS: As the author of the Medicare bill, let me clear up one thing. As people talk about having insurance, there are millions of people who have insurance, they can’t go to the doctor, and when they come out of the hospital, they go bankrupt. All right? What I am talking about, and others up here are talking about, is no deductibles and no copayments. And, Jake, your question is a Republican talking point. At the end of the day—and by the way—and by the way—by the way, the healthcare industry will be advertising tonight on this program.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator Sanders was referring to a question by Jake Tapper about whether the middle class should pay higher taxes in exchange for universal coverage and the elimination of insurance premiums. Dr. El-Sayed, your response?
DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED: Well, look, you have a situation in our country right now where you have huge corporations that are making billions of dollars every year, who pay zero in their taxes. Now, they want to have the rights of corporations, but they don’t want—of people, excuse me, but they don’t want to have the responsibilities. And what we have to ask ourselves is: What does it look like if an Amazon was to pay the highest tax rate in this country, which is about 37%? They’d be paying $4 billion a year in taxes. Now, if all of those Fortune 500 corporations did the same, they weren’t exploiting these tax loopholes that allow them to move money offshore and then get credit for it, what would it look like in terms of the money that we bring in? I think Senator Warren talked a lot about her wealth tax in some pretty important ways, because that generates the kind of fuel for programs like Medicare for All. This idea that there’s this zero sum, that the middle class is going to have this tax increase, and all of a sudden their healthcare is going to get taken away, these are, unfortunately, Republican talking points.
One more point. I ran on a single-payer plan for Michigan. And what we found is that when you take away those deductibles, those copayments, those out-of-pocket costs from the everyday family, the average family of four, earning $48,000 a year, actually would save $5,000 on the top, because if you’re not having to pay these costs—right?—and instead you’re paying a tax, in fact, you save money, because the whole system becomes more efficient. So when you take those corporate inputs, when they actually have to pay their fair share, and you take the efficiencies gained by a single-payer system, it more than makes up for itself. We’ve got to push back on these talking points and remember that the goal of Democrats has always been to aspire to solve the problems that people face in their lives, through our democracy, through our government. And this is exactly what Medicare for All would do.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back to our discussion, as well as be joined by other guests. We’re speaking with Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, former candidate in Michigan’s Democratic gubernatorial primary election. In 2018, he founded the political action committee Southpaw Michigan to help elect other progressive candidates in Michigan. We’re talking about the Democratic presidential primary debate. The next one is tonight. We’ll be covering that tomorrow. Stay with us.
The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.