tv Democracy Now LINKTV November 20, 2020 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
11/20/20 11/20/20 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> because you all have done the work, you got us a seat at the table. we have worked with the biden administration to secure commitment on a $2 trillion climate plan. $2 trillion. but we are not going to stop there. we are not going to stop with a piece of paper. that is not what is going to happen.
we're not going to forget about the agreement for the sake of an election, are we? amy: indigenous, racial justice, and climate activists staged an biden beon dubbed " brave" outside the headquarters and adc thursday, calling on the president-elect to take immediate climate action and to approve the green new deal. we will hear from congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez and congresswoman-elect cori bush. then"we' being tolbiden won't be ablto achie much. we must ject tt idea." that ithe headne oa new pie by autr d organir astra taylor of the debt coective. >> as we looforward to a new demoatic administration, we need toe clear what power you will have. it is within his power to erase .ll fedel student debt
egypt where the head of the leading egyptian human rights group has been arrested in an unprecedented crackdown. we will speak with sharif abdel kouddous. all that and more, coming up. weome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman. the united states confirmed 187,000 new coronavirus infections on thursday -- the highest one-day total of any nation since the start of the pandemic. more than 2000 people died across the united states thursday, the highest one-day death toll since may. disease modelers at the university of washington school of medicine now predict over 470,000 u.s. coronavirus deaths by march 1 unless face masks are widely adopted, something they say would save 65,000 lives.
the centers for disease control and prevention is calling on americans to avoid travel over the thanksgiving holiday, warning family get-togethers could lead to a spike in new infections and deaths. on thursday, the white house coronavirus task force held its first news briefing since august, led by vice president mike pence. vice pres. pence: this administration and our president does not support another national lockdown and we do not support closing schools. amy: president trump was notably absent from thursday's white house briefing, as was coronavirus adviser dr. scott atlas, who opposes face masks and has promoted a widely discredited herd immunity strategy and has encouraged people to rise up against public health restrictions. mexico has become the fourth nation to pass 100,000 covid-19
deaths, following brazil, india, and the united states. in honduras, tens of thousands of people who fled hurricanes iota and eta have packed overcrowded storm shelters, raising fears of a spike of new infections. across europe, hospitals report a shortage of both icu beds and healthy doctors and nurses to staff them amid signs that a second wave of covid-19 is finally slowing due to public health measures that were reintroduced beginning in october. in south australia, officials have lifted a strict coronavirus lockdown three days early after they determined a man who became infected lied to contact tracers, raising unfounded fears of a highly contagious strain of the virus. australia has nearly eradicated covid-19, with only a handful of cases reported in recent weeks. meanwhile, the world health organization is advising doctors around the world not to administer the anti-viral drug
remdisiver to covid-19 patients after concluding it has no meaningful effect on mortality or recovery times. georgia's republican secretary of state said thursday joe biden clearly beat donald trump to win georgia's 16 electoral college votes. brad raffensperger said a statewide hand recount of 5 million ballots failed to turn up any evidence supporting president trump's consracy theoes about atolen election and that he will certify georgia's results before today's 5:00 p.m. deadline. meanwhile, south carolina republican lindsey graham faces a senate ethics investigation into his phone call with raffensperger last friday, when graham allegedly asked the secretary of state to toss out thousands of mail-in ballots. senator graham has denied making the request, which legal experts say would amount to felony election fraud in georgia.
the associated press on thursday formally called georgia for joe biden, giving him 306 electoral college votes nationwide to trump's 232. in delaware, president-elect biden blasted trump's refusal to concede his election loss. mr. biden: i think we are witnessing an incredible irresponsibility, incredibly damaging message is being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions. amy: president trump has called republican leaders of michigan's state legislature to the white house today as he continues to seek to invalidate joe biden's victory. election results show biden beat trump in michigan by about 157,000 votes. late wednesday, two republican members of wayne county's board of canvassers said in affidavits they wanted to rescind their votes to certify election results in detroit, which has a
large african-american population. both officials, who are white, initially refused to certify the election results but reversed their opposition after their actions sparked outrage. one of the officials, board chair monica palmer, said thursday she reversed course a second time after receiving a call from president trump. this comes as federal court filings allege 14 militia members who planned to kidnap michigan governor gretchen televiselso planned to the murder of other public officials and burned down the michigan state house. they have all been arrested. in washington, d.c., lawyers for president trump's re-election campaign said thursday they've uncovered a vast conspiracy to subvert the will of u.s. voters by manufacturing votes for joe biden. trump attorney and former new york city mayor rudy giuliani led thursday's news conference,
which was held in the lobby of the republican national committee's headquarters on capitol hill. >> i can prove do you that he won pennsylvania by 300,000 votes. i can prove do you he won michigan by probably 50,000 votes. amy: giuliani offered no proof of his claims. as he spoke, he began sweating profusely, causing dark liquid to stream down both sides of his face ian apparent cosmetic malfunction. trump campaign attorney sidney powell described a vast conspiracy to fix the election involving george soros, hillary clinton, antifa, china, cuba, and former venezuelan president hugo chavez -- who died in 2013. powell has called for legislatures in swing states to disregard the popular vote in der to appoint trump supporters to the electoral college.
christopher krebs, the top u.s. election security official fired by trump this week for failing to support conspiracy theories, tweeted -- "that press conference was the most dangerous 1 hour and 45 minutes of television in american history. and possibly the craziest." on thursday, nebraska republican senator ben sasse blasted the trump campaign's efforts, writing -- "rudy and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. we are a nation of laws, not tweets." republican senator mitt romney of utah added -- "it is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting american president." the labor department reports 743,000 u.s. workers filed for new unemployment claims last week -- a rise of about 30,000 from the previous week, as coronavirus infections hit
record highs from coast to coast. this comes as a new study by the century foundation found that, unless republican senators follow house democrats by passg a covid relief bill,2 million u.s. workers will lose federal unemployment benefits by december 26. here in new york, food banks report they've had to turn away some needy families amid unprecedented demand. on monday, a harlem food bank handed out 500 turkeys to residents, including ruth crawford. >> have to try to relax and think of the better things because it wasn't always like this. -- it is just that. you work all the time and then you can't go to work and you can't work from home, so it is not easy. amy: the hunger-relief group feeding america warns some 54 million u.s. residents currently face food insecurity.
in washington, d.c., indigenous, racial justice, and climate activists staged a protest outside the democratic national committee headquarters thursday calling on president-elect joe biden to take immediate action on the climate crisis and approve the green new deal. advocates are also calling for a corporate-free cabinet. this is climate activist john henry of the sunrise movement. >> two years ago, we stood here at the sunrise move and we ask nancy pelosi to form a green new deal committee. today we are asking president-elect joe biden to form a select office on climate mobilization. treat this crisis with the urgency it deserves. treat it with the urgency of a mother in lake charles who is homeless for the second time this year, with the urgency of the california farmworkers working under blood filled skies, and treated with the
urgency of the middle schoolers. if you do that, we will never forget you. if you fail us, we will never forgive you. amy: after headlines, we will hear from others who attended the protest by commerce member alexandria ocasio-cortez and congresswoman elect cori bush immigration rights advocates are demanding temporary protective status, or tps, for refugees from central american nations hurricanese ta and iota. for the national tps online said "there are no shelters for people to go to, roads are underwater, hundreds of thousands are displaced. this is what tps was created for." a federal court in september sided with the trump administration and its efforts to end tps for several countries, including nicaragua and el salvador, affecting hundreds of thousands of people living in the united states.
in related news, federal court on wednesday blocked the trump administration from continuing to deport unaccompanied migrant children under a policy that allowed immigration officials to quickly deport asylum seekers arriving at the u.s.-mexico border without due process, citing covid-19. some 13,000 unaccompanied children have been deported during the pandemic. this comes as immigration rights advocates are demanding the release of 28 children and their families who were placed in expedited deportation proceedings by ice. advocates say the families' initial asylum pleas were botched by officials, resulting in the rejection of their credible fear claims. this is alexa, a girl who was imprisoned by ice for 11 mths. >> why did they say children haveights in this country when children don't haveights? horrible because was
and and my mother was sick the medical staff did not want to help us. finally released from detention, they discovered my mom has cancer. thee was discrimination in detention centers. immigrion officials yelled at us. they treated as less than human. they did horrible things to us in that detention center. amy: on thursday, the federal government executed orlando hall at the federal penitentiary in terre haute, indiana. hall is an african american man who was sentenced to die by an all-white jury. he was the eighth person to be executed by the federal government this year. and a correction to a headline we reported on thursday. the federal government is scheduled to execute lisa montgomery on december 8 in the first federal execution of a woman in nearly 70 years. we misidentified her as lisa coleman, who is a woman executed by the state of texas in 2014.
in uganda, at least 37 people have been killed as protests continue over the arrest of presidential opposition candidate bobi wine. some 350 people have been arrested since protests erupted in the capital kampala wednesday after wine was taken into custody. his campaign says he's been denied access to a lawyer and medical attention. the rapper turned politician is seeking to unseat president yoweri museveni, who's been in power for 36 years. and argentina is once again poised to become the largest latin american country to legalize abortion after president alberto fernandez sent senators a bill overturning strict anti-choice laws. on wednesday, crowds of reproductive rights activists rallied outside the argentine national congress as the legislation was introduced. >> we are sure there is going to be a fight over the bill, just like we have seen in past years. we have to defend legalized abortion out in the streets
because we don't trust those who are sitting in the senate, nor lawmakers from the major parties. amy: last year alone, nearly 40,000 people in argentina were hospitalized after receiving botched abortions outside of medical clinics. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, we go to washington, d.c., where there thea sit in staged outside democratic national committee headquarters. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
immediate climate action and to approve the green new deal. advocates are also calling for a corporate-free cabinet. included -- >> i'm going to ask biden, please, put an end to the fossil fuel addiction, to the genocide, to the injustices against our people because we will stand and we do know there are people willing to put their bodies on the line to make sure our future generations will have a clean, beautiful, and just thriving community. they become a number of lawmakers spoke at the protest including congresswoman-elect cori bush from missouri. bush is a formerly homeless nurse and single mother who helped lead the protests following the police killing of michael brown in ferguson, missouri, in 2014.
she recently became the first african american woman elected to congress from missouri. >> first of all, i think we need to make sure that something is very clear. when we don't act, people who look like me die. so let me say that again. when people don't act, people who look like me die. and so there is no other alternative right now and make sure we have bold leadership. and some people say, oh, you have to play this game most of well, i am done with the games. we won't play more games because when we play the games, people die. what we're looking at right now, when we crossed the mark for 250,000 people dying at the hands of trump's covid-19? and i am calling it trump's covid-19 because this could have been done differently. so we're looking right now to
president-elect joe biden to make some changes and do some things that are different, but it is not good enough to just do different. he got to do bold. you gotta do change that happens now. you've got to make sure black folks, brown folks come every marginalized group, indigenous groups feel the change. that is why we are here. we need change that everybody can deal. yes, we are going to get in good trouble doing it. yes, we're going to make sure we say the names of those that have passed because of failed leadership. that is what we are asking for right now. when i think about the day when i did not care about the climate does one thing you all know about me is i tell my own. i don't need somebody to tell it for me. there was a day when i did not care about the climate. i thought the climate crisis and re aboutissues we recycling and endangered
animals. i tell you what, i found out after fighting about why is our energy bill so high? fighting about, why do i have to keep going to the hospital for asthma? why does my child have to keep going to the hospital for asthma? then i realized it is the coal companies and these companies that are the ones that are pushing this into our communities come into communities that have nothing to do with it that are the most impacted who look like me. -- ourthink about children are 10 times as more likely to go to the hospital for asthma than white children. we are calling on the biden administration to save lives. save lives stop there is no other alternative. we need old leadership and we are asking you because we voted for you. we showed up and major people were out to vote. we are asking you to show up and
we need it now. amy: that is congresswoman elect cori bush of missouri. she was wearing a black mask good the white old words " trouble" printed on it, speaking thursday at the "biden be brave" occupation outside the democratic national committee headquarters. covers member alexandria ocasio-cortez of new york also spoke. >> climate is now a top three issue providers across the country and it is about time our congress and our administration starts acting like it. way past time. so important is that every single person up here represents the power of the movement. it represents the power of indigenous communities, organizing, the power of young people organizing, the power of the movement for black lives organizing, showing that climate is intersectional with everyone at our needs and demands.
it is time for the treaty rights and liberties of indigenous people in the united states of america. we can't talk about climate unless we're talking about the rights of young people to have a habitable planet and talking about the rights of working-class people to have a job that guarantees them dignity. and it is only bold federal action i can guarantee these things. it is only that kind of transformational investment. we have worked in the movement -- and at the movement has pushed. the movement is why i was elected to congress. the movement is my jamaal and corey are here. you are the movement. the movement is why rashida is here. the movement his wife ed markey was protected this year. it was the movement. as we have been saying since day one, they have got money, but we have got people.
we have got people. at the end of the day, dollar bills don't vote. although, they try to. we vote. people vote. young people vote. it is about time -- long past time we recognize and understand owe we owe our seats, we our political power because of young people, because of the movement for black lives, because of women, because of the working across this country. it is a class issue, a racial issue, a gender issue. that is why this work is so important. because you all have done the work, you got as a seat at the table. we have worked with the biden administration to secure commitment on a $2 trillion climate plan. $2 trillion. but we're not going to stop there. we are not going to stop with a piece of paper. that is not what is going to happen. we're not going to forget about the agreement for the sake of an election, are we?
no. we are going to organize and demand that this administration, which i believe is decent and kind and honorable, keep their promise. isthat is what our next move , to make sure the biden administration keeps its promise. we know we don't just make that demand and walk away. we had to organize for it. we have to bring the heat for it. because there's a whole lot of people that tried to just shove a bunch of money before the selection and by their seat of the table. but we organized for hours. and we are not easily going to let that go. so our demand is to make sure we keep this promise, that we follow through on a visionary, absolutely unprecedented to trillion dollar plan -- that is not just about money, that also one of the first presidential plans to honor the treaty rights of native people, one of the
first rights to make sure we have environmental justice front and center so we make sure we make up for redlining, make or for flint, make up for baltimore, make up for lead in the pipes are process this country. so that is what this movement is all about. i want to thank you -- and i don't want anyone here to think that we are not winning. that me tell you something, we are winning. it is working. it is happening. we're going to secure the future. we are going to secure the basic tenets of a green new deal, multitrillion dollar jobs program for climate, environmental, racial, gender, and class justice. that is what the green new deal is and we will stick to that plan. thank you all very much. amy: alexandria ocasio-cortez speaking at the "biden be brave" occupation outside the democratic national committee headquarters in washington, d.c., on thursday.
we're going to turn right now to astra taylor. astra taylor of the debt collective. the protest comes as incoming biden administrion is also facing increasing pressure to cancel all federal student loan debt. on wednesday, a group of 200 groups sent a letter to den and vi preside-elect kala hais urging themo "use ecutive thority cancel federal udent de on day one ofheir admistratio" yes,e are tuing noto the writerphil mak, organiz astrtaylor, o is a mber of the debtollective which has just published a book titled "can't pay, won't pay: the case for economic disobedience and debt abolition." astra wrote the forward to the book, as well as a new piece in the guardian titled "we're being told biden won't be able to achieve ch. we must reject that idea."
we turn right to that theme. let's begin there. what does it mean to say that we must reject this idea that not much can be achieved during a biden administration? >> first, thank you for having me. wonderful to follow up on those brave words from cori bush and alexandria ocasio-cortez. the biden be brave rally, there was a sense right after the election, the election that is still unending, that because democrats did not take the senate that it would be impossible for a biden administration to govern. what is so great at this moment is how the grassroots are saying, no, we have a deep understanding of how power works and what power you will have even if the democrats do not manage to flip though senate seats in georgia. of course, flipping no seats -- those seats
would be ideal, but there are things biden can do if he is willing to play hardball, willing to actually understand that is what the republicans do in the democrats need to do the same. afoot tomovement pressure the vita administration to do this first by saying we know you possess this power. for example, biden can make the vacanciessing act. this is a power that trump used even though he had the senate on his side. essentially allows the president to appoint cabinet level posts by people who have been confirmed by congress for senior employees among certain agencies. follow recommend people demand progress and a revolving door project, which has been doing a lot of great work on this. and saying there is a way to put
people in positions of power so that you can advance the progressive agenda that you were elected to advance. because as aoc made so clear, won we simply cannot afford to have government that fails to govern in the interest of the people. the democrats will be crushed in 2022 and 2024 if they don't do this. i am heartened by movements paying attention of these sorts of things, thinking about staffing, thinking abo important positions. climate change, economic justice, student debt -- recognizing the important positions like the treasury or the office of management and budget. it is all interconnected. we need people who are committed to meeting the moment as opposed to the same old politics of
austerity. we need those people in place right now. the debt collective is concerned, for example, of issues who passed the department of education to ensure we don't obama-bypeat of the the administration. we cannot afford to have obama two .0 at the level of the department of education. amy: we're talking about the obama-biden administration, except biden is the president-elect. can you talk about the wish list for cabinet members? a lot has been talked about, apparently, president-elect biden is about to name his treasury secretary. among those who progressives have really been pushing is senator elizabeth warren, but there is concerned because she comes from massachusetts, which has a republican governor, that that would not guarantee who would fill that senate seat. of course, the senate has not been decided who will run the
senate because of the two georgia senatorial runoffs. at the possibility of elizabeth warren, now the name being floated among others is janet yellen. you have bernie sanders wanting to be labor secretary. the concern his state of vermont, the governor is also republican. phil scott, who says he would choose an independent -- which of course, bernie sanders is -- that would possibly caucus with the democratic party. but in both of these cases, of republican governors who make the final decision. what about the cabinet, how important it is, and these particular candidates? weit is absolutely important put forward -- i think the first thing the biden administration needs to do is put forward progressive options like elizabeth warren. is anotherth it person people are interested in. i think she was at the treasury under obama and has that some
really interesting things about climate and the power of the change. to climate so there are these dynamics to consider, whether or not the democrats have the senate is a big coern. if they don't, what their needs to be an organizations are doing this, creatin list the people who are alreadyn government. so people who have positions on independent commissions within the government that could be appointed through the vacancies act. at the department of education, some of the names are randy having the head of a teachers union at the department of education would be significant progress. but we don't know what is going to happen. we're not at the point where we can rest easy. but i think as people and in the movement, we need to signal we are paying attention to this and that we understand just how
critical these positions are. again, we need to look at things well, boringhe as agencies weon't pay a lot of attention to but are influential when we are thinking about the power of the purse. new bookhe ford of the "can't pay won't pay," the case for economic disobedience and debt abolition, you write -- "if we don't get organized, debtors will keep getting pushed deeper into a financial hole. in the throes of the pandemic, some payday lenders are charging close to 800% interest on short-term loans, taking advantage of people who have no other way to keep a roof over their heads or put food on the table. mass unemployment in the absence of a functioning safety net intensifies mass indebtedness, fueling the already vastly unequal distribution of wealth
along predictable racial lines." we are moving into the holiday week. onre are people blocks long food lines across the country. thatty groups, food groups are getting out turkeys or any kind of food are running out of food. unemployment numbers are going up. we are talking about millions of people about to lose their unemployment benefits. can you talk about the whole issue of debt and what you think is possible? >> indebtedness was an absolute crisis bore the covid pandemic. i think we he to begin there. reaching historic proportions. the thing is, access to credit has masked stagnating wages and deepening mind-boggling inequality. because what people had to do is
borrow to compensate. in that sense, people are robbed twice. your robbed at the workplace by being pay poverty wages and then forced to borrow with interest to make ends meet. we have to borrow money to get an education so we can get a job. the average student borrower now has about $32,000 of debt. it goes up every year. people have to take out payday loans to keep a roof over their head. we know the research shows people tend to put necessities on their credit cards. we are talking basic things like food, sustenance. people are drowning in medical debt because we live in a country that lacks universal health care. , as bernie sanders often pointed out, is the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country. if you live in a country with universal health care, medical debt does not exist. these are political structural problems. we are a country of people in debt.
the vast majority, 75% of people, are in debt. -- americans were dying on average of $62,000 of debt most of the pandemic hit, millions of jobs evaporate, it becomes an even more urgent crisis. before the pandemic, people did not have $400 for an emergency. what happens when your incomes rise up? you go deeper into debt. delinquency, default. and the psychological and physical consequences that come with that. we all know debt is incredibly stressful. it is bad for our health. so these are structural problems and the debt collective, unit of debtors, demand structural solutions. just like workers organize in the workplace for higher wages, fair terms of employment, we believe debtors also have to organize. so debtors do not share an office space or a factory floor, but we can come together and
organize against our credito that mighbe a private entity like the bankr the feral gornment in the case of student loans the fedal govnment lds over 95%f studt loans. fact in ahe crisis like this, the one we're are livi in, what we need is cash to the people -- just like those unemplment benefs come thchecks for $00 that re not arlynoug peopeed th mey, the fincial suort tourve, t we need to couple that with a program of debt cancellation, of a jubilee. otherwise,hoseash paents are gog to juspay peop' debt $12 stiglit checksent to people werjust bacally seo debt servicing because that is wt peop were doing,aying eir de instead of speing th money the econy which witn prove an ecomic boo.
it shows their priority is pang off tir debt. thats what they a afraid of. we nd to coupl-- a cple of reef programs with debt caellati and tre are cls a theg to cancel rent deolleive has en leadi the ght forhe past years toanl student debt. and that is seriously on the table and being debated in washington and we have pushe thbidendmintration at let commit to the immediate cancellation of $10,000. we need to push them further, push them to use executive power to do so. amy: i want to talk more deeply about student debt first, in 2005, joe biden, alongside most republicans, favored the 2005 bankruptcy abuse prevention and consumer protection act, a bill that essentially made it more difficult to file for bankruptcy. the credit card industry, much of which is based in biden's
home state of delaware, also supported the bill and even wrote some of the bill's key amendments. this is an exchange between biden, who at the time was a member of the senate judiciary committee, and massachusetts senator elizabeth warren, at the time a harvard law professor, >> squzed engh out othese miliesnd intest and fees d paymen -- user rates. nobankrupt. i wl behe fir -- let's call a spade a sde. thproblem th the cdit card anies is user right not about the bankptcy bil >> butf you're n goi to x thatroblem, n take ay thshredded protection. my god. ok. you're very good, professor. , if you canaylor describe were biden has stood -- she was a longtime senator from delaware, home of the credit card companies, very much seen
in bed with them, to where he is today and what kind of concessions he has made and where you think he needs to be. >> biden's role in the student debt crisis goes way back to 1978 when he supported the middle income student assistance act, which essentially elinated restrictions on feral loans. he has been very involved in expanding lendinghile also repealing bankruptcy protections, as that clip just pointed out. he was a longtime senator from delaware, the credit card capital of the world. so this is his track record. we have no illusions about who we are dealing with. that is one of the benefits of a binding administration. nobody thinks he is the messiah. we know who he is. bill was ankruptcy travesty. it was written by the credit card industries. it was actually vetoed under biden fought
passionately for it and it was passed under the bh administration. this is not an encouraging track record in many ways. as i said earlier, the debt collective was in a fight with .he obama administration we let a student debt strike that was made up of students from predatory for-profit colleges stuff the students had been defrauded, had been lied to. in the department of education had basically supported and build out these predatory corporations -- bailed out these predatory corporations. they lea students disproportionately working-class, black and brown, single mothers, veterans, buried in debt, unable to get the employment they were promised. ainistration absolutely failed to use the power at his disposal to help these students. officials wenten
immediately from the administration working in the for-profit college sector. they just waltzed right through the revolving door. thee have been calling on biden administration, along with 70 of our allies in the education space, to break with this tradition. and there are some signs that under pressure he is doing so. after joe biden won the democratic nomination, he moved and finally formally embraced student debt forgiveness. sanders had anie policy of full student debt cancellation. that is what the debt collective supports. we think every penny should be erased because the loans should not exist in the first place. we should not have to mortgage our futures simply to get an education. senator elizabeth warren has been very good on this issue. she pushed quite an ambitious plan and is still pushing today. biden has taken up some elements
of that plan. he still needs to go further. as i said, because of covid, he has said he will immediately cancel $10,000 of student debt, including in his racial equity plan. post about this most of the question now is how is he going to do the and will he do more? we are committed to building a movement to ensure the biden administration cancels far more than $10,000 of student debt. again, we should believe -- we believe he should cancel all of it. the department of education already possesses -- the biden administration can erase all student debt on day one. research shows it is possible. senators warren and schumer have embraced this legal argument and indeed the trump administration already has used his authority to cancel interest rates -- interest on student loans a few months ago because of the pandemic. soe are in a very interesting
moment where public pressure could really actually make a massive difference and turn e biden from the person who basically advanced the student debt crisis into the president who finally helps roll it back. we can cut across the political spectrum and as we move into the holiday season, get biblical, canceling debt, obviously, is not a new idea. in deuteronomy 15, at the end of every seven years, you must cancel debt. go back to that history of debt jubilee. >> jubilee has a long tradition. here we can lean on the work of the late and great anthropologist david graeber. david graeber was a friend of mine. he brought me into the occupy
wall street movement and recruited me to the cause of debt resistance. in his beautiful book "debt: the first 5000 years," he talked about how in ancient societies, there were these periodic jubilee's, a wiping of the slate. so essentially, societies would become torn apart by indebtedness. people started selling themselves and their children to debt slavery. there was a recognitn that often people would be driven into debt because of circumstances that were to their fault. maybe it was bad props or maybe warfare. to keep society from breaking into -- also to mitigate the power, to reduce the power of the lende, there would be these periodic amnesties. very famous from 1750 bc says there needs to be debt amnesties. so this is not some utopian
futurew idea, this is something that has deep historical roots. there have been critical policies of debt cancellation in the modern era. oftenrs and economists point to germany after world war ii where the debts were wiped away so that germany would have economy to restart its and became the economic miracle. so part of the call for jubilee is part of this long tradition. it is both a kind of moral argument and says these debts are destroying people's lives. they are having disastrous social consequences. we cannot afford a society have those. there's a practical economic then, where he will actually boost the economy for everybody. everybody will be better off if we get rid of these debts. based on the logic that debts that can't be paid won't be paid. amy: before you go, i want to ask you about what is happening
with president trump and whether you see it as a very grave threat. you made the film "what is democracy?" yeah president inviting to the white house today the leaders of the michigan legislature. thealls low-level head of wayne county board that wanted to invalidate the votes from detroit, the large african-american vote, then was pushed back from doing that by massive public outcry across the political spectrum. and then trump called her. again, has called the michigan legislators to washington, d.c., today. over won the state by well 150 thousand votes. one of trump's lawyers is calling for legislators in swing states to disregard the popular vote in order to appoint trump supporters to the electoral college.
why don't we end with how serious is this and how serious is this is a threat to democracy and if you think there's any possibility he will succeed as he bunkers down in the white house, not seen by the public for days? >> i think it is very serious threat to democracy. mean, trump, even if he is not successful, will do incredibly lasting damage. part of the goal is to undermine the sense of legitimacy of this confusion.o dow he is pointing to something we have to take seriously, which is the way our constitution is designed and the way our elections actually work. i have been concerned with democracy. i have written a lot about it in recent years, this film. i think we too rarely pay attention to the structures of our political system and just how deeply undemocratic they are. we are focused every four years on getting out the vote, on
ensuring people vote. that is very important where there is so much voter suppression and it is racist and aimed at specifically at diluting the impact of progressives because, ultimately, this is a society with progressive majorities. it is just not reflected in our governance. but we need to pay attention not just to the ballot box, but reforming the political structures. the fact is that the legislatures do appoint electors. and the fact is the electoral college is deeply undemocratic. so somehow we have to build social movements. we have a lot to do but one thing we have to do is start taking seriously the challenge of democratic reform. we need to think not just about accessing the ballot, but making the rules of the game more democratic because that will help all of our other movements, the things we care about flow from that, whether it is addressing climate change or creating a society where debtors
dispossessed and abused as they are. we want economic equality that will flow from these questions of our political system. in that sense, i hope this can serve as a wake-up call. i don't think it will succeed, but it points at potential disasters down the road and we need to start fighting those fights now. amy: astra taylor, thank you for being with us, organizer with the debt collective, other of the foreword to their new book "can't pay, won't pay: the case for economic disobedience and debt abolition." we will link to your op-ed in the guardian which is headlined "we're being told biden won't be able to achieve much. we must reject that idea." also the director of the film "what is democracy?" and author of the book "democracy may not exist, but we'll miss it when it's gone." when we come back, we go to cairo. deleting egyptian human rights group has been arrested, its
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the quarantine report. i'm amy goodman. we end today's show in egypt, where the executive director of the leading human rights group in the country was arrested thursday night in an unprecedented crackdown. gasser abdel-razek was arrested at his home just days after two other staffers for the egyptian initiati for psonal rights were also arrested. the move signals a major escalation of repressi from the government of president abdel fattah el-sisi, who has imprisoned thousands of activists and journalists since he came to power after the 2013 overthrow of former president mohamed morsi. criminal justice director kareem ennarah and office manager mohamed basheer are the two other members of the egyptian initiative for personal rights
who have been arrested. they are being held on terrorism charges. the arrests come just after the human rights group met with a group of foreign ambassadors and diplomats in cairo earlier this month to discuss human rights in egypt and abroad. for more, we go to cairo where we're joined by democracy now! correspondent sharif abdel kouddous. he's also a reporter for mada masr, the country's last independent media outlet. sharif, thank you for joining us. talk about what is happening and the significance of the arrest of these human rhts leaders. >> over the past several years, authorities have severely targeted activities of civil society in egypt, especily those working on human rights. continuee last to operating. their work is crucial as they publish investigations into critical issues like detention conditions. most recently focusing on the health and rights of prisoners amid the pandemic. they do crucial work documenting
executions in egypt. the issued a report document and how egyptian authorities executed no less than 53 people on death row in october alone. a huge escalation. no one else is documenting this like eipr is. despite being in a hostile environment, continuing to operate must up last february, there generates researcher -- generates researcher was arrested. he was tortured by electrocution during his detention. even within that context, what happened with these arrests againstsharp escalation eipr and society in general. on november 3, the ipr held a meeting at their office with about 13 european ambassadors talking about enhancing human rights and egypt and globally. they were open about the meeting
, transparent, published photos online. at this is apparently what triggered the arrest. was -- theate are administration was arrested from his home in the middle of the night. ennarahys later, kareem was arrested while he was on the beach vacationing. yesterday, the executive director was arrested from his home in cairo. at is worrying about these arrests is they came in conjunction with highly coordinated smear campaign in media outlets owned by the general intelligence service. there were publishing articles time almost with the second arrest, calling the eipr in a legal organization whose goal is to undermine egypt and harm its national security. this is an indication of the cornet media campaign that crackdowns are being ported from the top, which is of great concern.
on chargesl-razek including joining a church organization and publishing false news. these can be lasting for months. the prison people without ever having to put them on trial. to civil huge blow society in egypt. not to civil society, to independent media, grassroots activism, and has really sent shockwaves throughout the community here. amy: i know massachusetts senator elizabeth orne has condemned the arrest. what about the ambassadors who attended the meeting? and break quickly, what are your hopes for next steps? >> response has been quite tepid from the european countries that attended this meeting. the arrests were in response -- i was expecting to see more. i believe norway has put out a statement. chris coons has been talked
about us possibly an appointed secretary state hunter biden tweeted against this. -- hunter biden. using counterterrorism and national security legislation to silence. the french foreign ministry also put out a statement condemning the arrest but egypt's foreign minister quickly rejected the statement saying it is an interference in egypt's internal affairs. we will have to see what happens. -- shariff abdel, abdel kouddous, thank you for joining us democracy now! , correspondent and a reporter for mada masr based in cairo. please be safe. that does it for our broadcast. a happy birthday and fond farewell and all the very best to our digital intern. democracy now! is looking for feedback from ople who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
>> fears of a humanitarian crisis as violence in northern ethiopia sends tens of thousands across the border into sudan. ♪ >> i'm imran khan. this is al jazeera from delhi. uganda presidential candidate bobby wine is released from custody two days after his arrest. donald trump invites michigan legislators to the white house as he seeks ways to overturn his election defeat. pfizer and biontech