TRNN in New Hampshire: Trump’s Senior Policy Advisor Defends Curbing Immigration
Stephen Miller argues that wall blocking immigrants is the best option for American workers and defends Trump as an anti-interventionist – from TRNN’s live coverage of New Hampshire
STEPHEN MILLER: I find that, just in an intellectual matter, totally fascinating. But as someone who works for Donald Trump, one of the reasons why I find it so exciting is the fact that we’re going to go and compete in states where you couldn’t compete. And the Iraq war is, I think, going to be a big issue. I mean, think about what it’s going to be like for independent-minded and Democrat voters who are deciding if they want to switch parties or want to vote Republican, having the Republican standard-bearer be closer to their views on foreign policy. We haven’t seen an election like that, that I can remember, in a long time.
PAUL JAY: What was his view on Libya?
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, he’s been critical of the intervention in Libya. And that, again, marks a big contrast to some of the other candidates. Now, we’ve seen that play out in a few of the debates. I think most notably, right, we’ve seen that Senator Rubio of Florida was the most supportive of the Libya intervention. And again, that’s created the same kind of problem that we’ve seen before, where you end up creating a power vacuum, and what fills the vacuum could be a lot worse. It also takes us over to Syria too, which I think is a natural segue there. Because you heard Mr. Trump say in the last debate, or I think it was actually at a recent speech that he delivered, where he said that we should find a common interest with Russia concerning Isis in Syria. And then you see some of the other Republican candidates saying they want to establish a no-fly zone in Syria, not in cooperation with Russia, but in opposition to Russia, and then enforce the no-fly zone against the Russian planes, potentially, I guess, shooting down a Russian fighter. I mean, it’s just hard to wrap your head around.
PAUL JAY: I think Senator Clinton, I mean Secretary Clinton, I guess we call her now, is proposing something similar.
STEPHEN MILLER: Honestly, I just can’t wrap my head around it, why you’d risk a war with Russia after we had a Cold War for decades against the Communist empire that didn’t lead to a direct military conflict between our forces and theirs.
PAUL JAY: It’s a very interesting mix. Now, Donald Trump has lots of rhetoric about making America great again. This is usually the kind of language that goes with a more aggressive, interventionist foreign policy. But in his case, it doesn’t seem to. It’s an interesting thing.
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, he’s talked a lot about the fact that we’re nation-building overseas, and yet we have cities and communities in our own country that are crumbling with disrepair. And obviously we know that our roads and bridges are in terrible condition, but I’m talking even about the state of communities, living conditions in certain inner cities, but not just inner cities. I mean, you see it whether it’s in certain regions along the Appalachian Mountains. All over the country, you see places that are living in sometimes even deplorable conditions. And yet, we have these extraordinary overseas commitments. We’re paying not just for our own engagements, we’re paying to protect a lot of countries from old commitments from World War II and old commitments from the Korean War, and all these expenses. And yet, we have our own communities that are falling behind.
PAUL JAY: What would he do with the Pentagon military budget?
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, I think that he said… And it’s important–and you know this, of course, as well as anybody–I think it’s important to distinguish between military spending and, of course, war spending. And so, you can save money, obviously, by avoiding war spending, and you can also save money by focusing more on developing our resources here at home than deploying them overseas, even if it’s just a stationary military outpost. Because when you have a military officer stationed in the United States, that puts tax dollars into the local community, right.
PAUL JAY: Well, I don’t know if you know The Real News Network, but we’re not very–what’s the word–reserved about expressing some of our own opinions in here. And it seems to me–
STEPHEN MILLER: I welcome it.
PAUL JAY: On foreign policy issues, to me this is relatively rational, especially within the milieu of the Republican Party. And I know he’s been very critical of Bush II and a lot of the foreign policy from that period. But on the immigration policy, it seems to me not so rational. I don’t know how you build some great big wall, I don’t know how on Earth you expect the Mexican government is going to pay to build this wall. The data and studies I’ve seen, the fastest way to stop the effect of lowering wages of American workers, which granted, there has to be some effect by people who are willing to work because of such desperate situations. When you’re undocumented, you will work almost in slave conditions sometimes, meaning… I’ve reported from South San Diego County and on the Tijuana border. I mean, people who are working in agriculture, sometimes they don’t even get paid at the end of the harvest season, and because they’re undocumented, they can’t complain. But most studies I’ve seen, if you want to fix that, it’s not that you build some enormous wall, which seems to be impossible. Number two, you don’t talk about any kind of mass deportations. You find a way to legalize people, so they can fight for higher wages and start to equalize their wage levels.
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, I’m glad you brought this up, because I think we could have a really great conversation about this. And I actually think that I might be able to change your mind on a couple points, which is why I’m glad–
PAUL JAY: Well, convince me that Mexicans don’t know how to build ladders.
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, which is why I’m glad that we can get a bit into our opinions, because I think that I might be able to convince you of a few things. But before I answer that, because I have a lot to say, I didn’t answer your last question in complete about the military budget, so I just want to make sure it’s on the record. He has said he would increase the military budget, but again, as a deterrent, to have the best planes, the best technology, but also, the best veterans’ healthcare. And so, that again is a deterrent, but it’s different and distinct from more spending. But yes, he has said that he would build up our military and improve our disastrous veterans’ healthcare.
PAUL JAY: Well, then let’s just go with that just for a minute before we go to the immigration issue.
STEPHEN MILLER: Right, I didn’t answer it when you asked it, so I just wanted to.
PAUL JAY: The United States already spends more than the next eight or ten countries combined. There isn’t an armed force on Earth that comes anywhere near American technology. This idea that there’s been some weakening of the American military force, most military analysts I’ve seen scoff at that.
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, I mean, there’s been, in terms of the number of ships, as well as the age of planes, the age of helicopters, technology, there’s been a lot of degradation there. But it depends, of course. If you measure a percent of GDP or you measure as a percent of the budget, obviously we would both agree that military spending has been shrinking for a long time. In other words, if you go back to like 1960, the share of the budget that was for military expenses would have been a lot larger, and the share of the GDP too. But I would be remiss–because you wanted to talk about immigration.
PAUL JAY: Yeah, let’s do that.
STEPHEN MILLER: So I think you have to separate it into a couple different issues. You have illegal immigration, legal immigration, and guest workers. So let’s deal first with what you asked about, which is illegal immigration, and that’s people who are coming across the border. So a border wall is a necessary step in order to get control of the situation. You’re never going to have control of the situation if you don’t have a border wall. And every country in the world enforces their immigration laws, including Mexico and including Central America, they all enforce their immigration laws, as does–
PAUL JAY: Yeah, but they don’t have border walls, actual physical walls. The last physical border wall I know of was in Berlin.
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, there’s a big difference there. The Berlin Wall was in order to keep people from leaving a country.
PAUL JAY: Well, it depends which side you talk to. Clearly it was, but–
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, there’s a couple of problems with the Berlin Wall.
PAUL JAY: But to enforce it, they had to have machine gun nests all along the wall. You’re going to have machine gun nests?
STEPHEN MILLER: The people who constructed the wall were an oppressive country trying to keep people from leaving the country. Whereas in our case, you’re talking about having an orderly immigration process where people have to come in legally.
PAUL JAY: I’m not talking about the morality of the law, I’m talking about how you need machine gun nests all along the wall.
STEPHEN MILLER: There’s no comparison there whatsoever. You realize that we already have border fencing in certain places, right? We have, like in San Diego sector we have a triple layer border fence. And it’s cut down on rapes, human trafficking, drug trafficking, desert deaths, like actual human tragedies have been avoided by building that fence. It’s a humanitarian thing to do. But we’ll never get control of the situation, because the United States is the only first world country in the world that shares a massive land border with an extremely poor country, the only one in the world. That creates and economic migration pressure that is unlike anything else in the whole world. So it’s a unique situation for that reason.
PAUL JAY: Europe’s facing a lot of the same issues. There’s been a lot of migration to Europe from other countries.
STEPHEN MILLER: Yeah, but a lot of them–there’s water boarders and things like that. You do see, right, in North Africa and in Africa–
PAUL JAY: And the Middle East.
STEPHEN MILLER: Yes, and the Middle East.
PAUL JAY: And Syrian refugees…
STEPHEN MILLER: Right. But the relative wage levels of the United States versus Mexico, the disparity is so great that the pressure for economic migration is just unlike anything else in the entire world.
PAUL JAY: So isn’t that, then, the solution? Isn’t there the solution?
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, let me finish. No, because you’re never going to have a legal system if you don’t have a border wall. That’s just as simple as that. Now, but the other question that you asked about was about illegal immigrants in the United States and wages and jobs.
PAUL JAY: Wait, let’s stay with the wall for a minute. First of all, I’m no expert on building walls of that size, but I have seen reports from experts that say it’s totally unenforceable. You either go under it, you will break it down, you can’t patrol that. You can’t have machine gun nests all along this wall.
STEPHEN MILLER: The machine gun nests are such a false premise. You have a border patrol force in current law, and you would expand that even further. And so, to the extent that people try to circumvent the law, you’d be able to do that. But that would mean that you’d be cutting down on the flow and the numbers and the volume to such an extraordinary extent that you would have far more agents per crosser. You would change the manpower equation completely. And again, if fences didn’t work, then Israel wouldn’t have a fence. Fences work. Walls work. It’s just a fact. And I talk to border patrol agents, I talk to ICE agents. There’s a reason why they want a wall. But again, let’s remember, this is a humanitarian issue. People are dying on both sides of the border as a result of this.
PAUL JAY: OK, as a humanitarian issue, but even more importantly as a practical issue, the fundamental thing you said was the wage disparity is what’s driving the immigration. So why not attack that? Because if you look at the effect of NAFTA on Mexico and the destruction of the Mexican economy and turning Mexico into a narco state–
STEPHEN MILLER: Yes. Well, your opposition to NAFTA is just one more reason why you should vote for Donald Trump.
PAUL JAY: I understand he’s against NAFTA. I understand that. But if you want to deal with it, you have to deal with the effects of what NAFTA did to Mexico.
STEPHEN MILLER: But I think it’s really important, though, that we separate out the different aspects. So I just want to talk about the security wall, and then we’ll get to the economic side. The security wall is necessary because you’ll never control the flow otherwise. You can do whatever you want, you’ll never control the flow otherwise. And it doesn’t just mean that you’re saving people from dying on their way across. You’re putting the cartels out of business, but you’re also blocking criminal aliens from coming across too. But if you’re living in an immigrant community, you’re the first person who will benefit from keeping MS-13 from coming across. You’re the first person who will benefit from that. And not just you, but your children and your children’s children and your children’s children’s children. So it’s necessary to keep the country safe and to keep control of who comes in and out. Now, on the wage issue, the reality is that there are–I forget the exact number, but there’s a couple billion people in the world living on like ten dollars or less a day, a large number. So the United States, from a global perspective, is the top one percent as a country. It cannot be the policy–
PAUL JAY: Of course, a great deal of Americans do not share in that. We know the disproportionate way that wealth goes to the top one to five, ten percent.
STEPHEN MILLER: Right, of course. But what I’m saying is that everyone understands the wealth gap in the United States, which brings me to my next point. It cannot be the policy of the United States that any employer can hire any worker from anywhere in the world who’s willing to work for less. You’ll never have a middle class, you just won’t. This is a point that, in earlier points in his career, that Bernie Sanders made. He’s since been intimidated off of making it. But you cannot have a middle class if any employer can hire any worker for any wage. So the next part of–
PAUL JAY: Wait. You cannot have a middle class if–
STEPHEN MILLER: Any employer can hire any worker in the world whatever wage they’re willing to work for. So in other words, if an employer says, “I’d like to build a widget, widget A. And workers in America, to be competitive, I have to pay them twelve dollars an hour. So I’m going to fly in workers from Morocco and I’ll pay them six dollars an hour.”
PAUL JAY: Well, why not just go to Morocco? Why do you have to fly them in? Are you going to stop manufacturers from moving abroad?
STEPHEN MILLER: You have to deal with it on both ends. You have to deal with trade policy and immigration policy.
PAUL JAY: You have to get a green card, you can’t just fly people in.
STEPHEN MILLER: Yeah, but we give out a million green cards a year, so there’s a lot of that happening. And also, we have H-1Bs, H-2Bs, H-2As.
PAUL JAY: Would you stop giving green cards?
STEPHEN MILLER: What you would have to do is you’d have to reduce the number of green cards and you’d have to stop a lot of the exploitation of the foreign guest worker programs. I want to try and look at this from a historical perspective. Samuel Gompers once said that those who favor unrestricted immigration care nothing for the working people. In the 1920s and the teens, it was Samuel Gompers from the Labor Movement that was pushing for a pause on immigration. And they believed that it was creating overcrowding in the tenements, wage pressure.
PAUL JAY: That’s a bit of a straw man.
STEPHEN MILLER: But it’s very important.
PAUL JAY: Because I don’t think anyone’s advocating unrestricted immigration.
STEPHEN MILLER: But it’s very important, because I promised you that I would try and change your mind. And so, I have to filibuster a little bit because I have to get this information across to you. So just stay with me here. Between 1880 and 1920, the immigrant population in the country doubled from seven million to fourteen million. And then there was a cooling off period of almost half a century in which the foreign world population not only didn’t grow, but it shrank. So there was about fourteen million foreign-born in 1920 and there was about nine point six million in 1970. It was during that period that the middle class emerged. And people who had fought two wars together, had been through a Great Depression together, forged into one great middle class. And that’s when wages grew, social assimilation occurred, and the melting pot worked its magic. Since 1970, the foreign-born population has grown from less than ten million to more than forty million. Illegal immigration is part of that, but a big part of it is green cards and foreign worker visas.
PAUL JAY: Yeah, and a big part of that is that California and the other agricultural industry wanted people to come and work for next to nothing. They actually made it very easy to happen.
STEPHEN MILLER: What I’m saying to you is that the historically-based, compassionate thing to do is to say, “Let’s reduce the labor market crowding and shift the bargaining power back to workers.” So let’s say that you’re a recent immigrant.
PAUL JAY: But Donald Trump’s not in favor of unions, which is the number one thing, the bargaining power of unions.
STEPHEN MILLER: Let’s just say that you’re a recent immigrant.
PAUL JAY: Hang on. Deal with what I just said. Two things. Number one, if you really want to shift more bargaining power back to workers, you’ve got to be in favor of union. Every piece of data shows union workers are making more than unorganized workers, number one.
STEPHEN MILLER: If massive immigration continues, unions are going to have zero power in this country. The unions are being sold down the river. I mean, did you see what happened with the “Gang of 8” bill? Did you see what they did with the H-1B program? Unions have been opposed to H-1Bs for years. And the “Gang of 8” bill double the amount of H1-Bs. Unions are being sold down the river.
PAUL JAY: I agree with that, certainly. And I’m not in any way here defending the Democratic Party’s attitude towards unions, because they talk a good game, and then when they actually get elected they don’t do anything about it. The Employee Free Choice Act is the best example of that. But that being said, it’s like the arms race. If you build a wall, they will find a way around the wall. If you want to deal with the situation, you’ve got to deal with the destruction of Mexico and Central America. And U.S. policy–and I hear you, Donald Trump was against NAFTA, fine. But if you want an effective policy, you need a U.S. policy that actually helps make people’s well-being in Mexico and Central America improved so there’s not such a motivation to go.
STEPHEN MILLER: It sounds like you’re making an argument against the Trans Pacific Partnership.
PAUL JAY: Absolutely, of course I am.
STEPHEN MILLER: Because you know what’s going to happen with the TPP is that Mexico and Central American are going to get a lot poorer, and a lot of the jobs that they’re doing are going to be done in Vietnam.
PAUL JAY: I’m not here to defend some Democratic Party position.
STEPHEN MILLER: What I’m seeing here is a lot of common ground.
PAUL JAY: But to deal with what I said…
STEPHEN MILLER: I agree with you on NAFTA and I agree with you on the TPP. And I agree with you, there’s probably a lot of other things we could do that cost a fraction of what we’re spending on this side of the border. I guarantee you, there’s some things that we could do. But I want you to tell me if you think any part of this makes sense to you. After five decades–Pew just put out this great report on immigration in the last fifty years. After five decades of the largest immigration flow in our history–we went from less than ten million people to forty million–and we’ve seen the stagnation of wages, but we’ve also seen, in immigrant communities in particular, a slowdown in economic assimilation, which is a term that we use to refer just to how their wages are keeping pace with average wages in the country. And we’ve seen schools falling behind, and other metrics that suggest that the current generation of immigrants and their children aren’t absorbing into the middle class as quickly. Couldn’t you make an argument, just from a purely economic perspective, that it would be time to slow down the overall rate of immigration in order to promote not just upward mobility, but also a greater cohesion in our country.
PAUL JAY: I don’t think it’s hard to agree with that. And I think it would be better for everyone if living conditions were better in Mexico and Central America, so people didn’t have to come. And yes, it would be better for American workers as well–
STEPHEN MILLER: Right, so we’re on the same page.
PAUL JAY: Well, we’re not on the same page how to get there.
STEPHEN MILLER: This is the best interview I’ve ever had. We started off on different pages, we’re now in agreement.
PAUL JAY: No, we didn’t. We agreed on a lot of foreign policy issues too. But there’s some critical disagreements which create a Grand Canyon divide.
STEPHEN MILLER: The problem is that in ten minutes we’re not going to get all of those. But I want to go where I think we agree. Here’s where I think we agree. We agree on foreign policy that military adventurism has been misguided, has not served our national security interests, that our veterans haven’t been properly taken care of, who we sent off to fight these wars, and that wherever you come from politically, I think that we have to find a new consensus towards a national security policy that focuses on the national interest and not nation-building. I think on trade, I think we’re in complete agreement there. And I think that’s great. I don’t know everything about your trade position and vice versa.
PAUL JAY: It’s a complicated issue.
STEPHEN MILLER: And on immigration, I’m going to assume that we disagree, so we’ll leave it in the disagree column, on the border wall. But everyone who’s voting tomorrow in New Hampshire, if you want a border wall, vote for Donald J. Trump. But I do think we agree that there has been corporate exploitation of cheap foreign labor that has disserved both immigrant workers and their ability to climb into the middle class, and also workers in general.
PAUL JAY: I agree with you. But we’d better go to the next step. If you really want to do something about it, you need legislation that makes it easier to organize unions, you need to get rid of the threat of deportation so people that are already here can’t be blackmailed with deportation if they ever try to demand higher wages. You need a path to legalization, and you need to deal with the economies of Mexico and Central America, and you need to have policies that make up for decades–and I agree with you, Trump was against NAFTA–but decades of supporting regimes that in Central America were essentially fascist, that were completely pro-mining companies, that severely exploited ordinary peasants and such in expropriating them from their land. Mexico’s been turned into a narco state, domestic agriculture has been destroyed through American dumping of cheap corn and other subsidized agricultural products. If you want to really deal with stemming the flow, you need to undo those policies. So I’m getting at we agree on some premises, but there’s some fundamental disagreements about what to do about those things.
STEPHEN MILLER: We didn’t get one hundred percent on the same page today, and I’m running against my own time deadlines, I apologize. But on the issue of illegal immigration and the deportation piece of it, I just want to be clear on why I disagree with you on that point. So there’s three possible options when you’re looking at illegal immigrants. You can either deport them, you can either give them some kind of quasi-permanent status, or you can give them some kind of fully permanent status. And your argument is, is that, well, if you give them some kind of fully permanent status, then they would be able to bargain for higher wages.
PAUL JAY: Can I add one piece to my argument?
STEPHEN MILLER: Yes.
PAUL JAY: Which is an enormous amount of the immigration that has come to the United States came because various sectors, particularly agrobusiness but not only, wanted people to come. I was on the Tijuana border, this was in the early 90s. And I stood there, the sun was going down, we’re looking at the U.S. border, maybe 200, 300, 400 people to my right, people selling peanuts, vendors, it was like a fiesta, OK? Everybody’s getting ready for the sun to go down and go across the border and head to the U.S. On the other side, facing all these people, was nobody. If I could find it, the Border Patrol could find it. It was harvest season. California agrobusiness, and not just California, they wanted everyone to come because they wanted this super-cheap labor. A lot of people that are here are here because they were practically invited.
And so, I have no problem with a country controlling its borders and saying we’re allowed to have x number of immigrants and not y, it’s what a sovereign country does. One can argue about how much and what, and from where, but of course sovereign countries have a right to say who gets in. That being said, there was a deliberate allowing of cheap labor to come here. And given that, there should be, absolutely, people here should be said, for all people’s interest–not least pragmatically, you’re not going to deport all these people anyway–you need to have a path to real legalization. That’s the number one thing that would help raise wages.
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, that’s the number one thing we disagree about. So if we have time, I want to drill into it just a little bit more. And if we don’t–
PAUL JAY: Well, it’s up to you. You’re the one who had another date.
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, yeah I know. There’s a rally tonight and I have some things I need to do before we get there. But this is just too important of an issue, so if I have to be late, I have to be late.
PAUL JAY: Let me just remind anyone tuning in just now that at the moment we’re debating Donald Trump’s immigration policy, and let’s continue.
STEPHEN MILLER: OK, great. So we have found a lot of common ground, again, on as you said, some of the premises. And I would agree, to use the term corporatocracy, I think that we’ve seen that with some of the illegal immigration problem, there’s no question that there’s been this sort of unholy alliance between politicians and big businesses. Now, agriculture’s, of course, one piece of that. In fact, there’s a great article in Buzzfeed, it was called “All You Americans are Fired,” and it talked about how American agriculture workers have basically been replaced with cheaper foreign labor getting paid much, much less and working in much worse conditions. So nobody disputes that that’s been a corporate-driven policy. But at the same time, we have to look at how politicians have played into that, including Democrat politicians, who have always seen illegal immigration, and agitating politically around it, as an electoral strategy. In other words, I think they believe that having this illegal immigration and then being able to sort of advocate on behalf of illegal immigrants can be a kind of a political move to get voters to the polls. In other words, if you solved the problem, if you solved the illegal immigration problem, it kind of removes an issue, I think, for a lot of politicians.
PAUL JAY: Disputable, because one of the things that’s been hurting Democrats has been the ability of various Republican candidates to appeal to workers who are concerned about what it’s doing to their wages and jobs. I’m not sure how that–but anyway…
STEPHEN MILLER: So we’re not going to agree on that. But on the point, though… Again, there’s three options.
PAUL JAY: I would say a lot of Democratic politicians are beholden to a lot of corporations that wanted this cheap labor, as were Republicans.
STEPHEN MILLER: I’m happy to blame the Republicans and the Democrats and the corporations all wanting illegal immigration. We can blame them all. Now, on the question about wages, my view personally has always been that the flaw in the premise that says you should legalize illegal immigrants so they can bargain for higher wages is that you’re assuming that there isn’t an alternative that would have an even better outcome. And that’s the point about deportation, which is that–take for instance the field of construction. According to the Economic Policy Institute, there is about six unemployed construction workers for each one job opening. They were just hollowed out in the recession, I mean it was just a disaster for construction workers. If you deport an illegal immigrant and you actually are reducing the size of available workers, that’s going to drive up wages much more so than legalizing an illegal immigrant. The other point is–
PAUL JAY: This argument could go on for a long time.
STEPHEN MILLER: You’re changing the–the reality is that deporting an illegal immigrant who’s working illegally in construction is going to open a job for an unemployed American or unemployed legal immigrant to fill that job and be able to bargain for a higher wage.
PAUL JAY: Well, legalizing that immigrant and allowing them to join a union would accomplish a lot more.
STEPHEN MILLER: But deportation would do a lot more in terms of raising wages.
PAUL JAY: All right. Well, I’ve got to suggest it.
STEPHEN MILLER: We’re going to disagree on that.
PAUL JAY: Well, we can go back on this another time. I’m more than happy–we’ve got to figure out another way to do this. And I don’t think we’re going to wind up agreeing on everything, but maybe it’s shocking we even agreed on as much as we did.
STEPHEN MILLER: I think we’re going to get closer than you might have imagined. We’re just running out of time. But I think like you just said, there’s some shared premises.
PAUL JAY: OK, thanks very much for joining us.
STEPHEN MILLER: Thank you.
PAUL JAY: Thank you. And now, studio, I think we’re going to go to the Koch brothers promo. OK. Earlier in the broadcast, I told you about this film that the Koch brothers probably wouldn’t like very much. Bruce Livesey, an investigative journalist, made a documentary for Global Television in Canada about the role of the Koch brothers in the Alberta tar sands and how the Koch brothers influence Canadian politics, and why they want the XL pipeline, to get the tar sands oil to their Gulf refineries. And it’s a very good piece of investigative journalism, and it’s a very good piece of investigative journalism that the Koch brothers didn’t want you to see. And global television, after the film was made, decided not to show it and fired Bruce Livesey instead. So we are now going to work with Bruce Livesey and we’re going to do some crowd funding, and we’re going to try to get this film made. And here’s Bruce telling the story of what happened to him and giving a little bit of a tease about what the film will be about. So here’s the clip.
BRUCE LIVESEY: Koch industries is one of the biggest companies in the United States. They have annual sales of like one hundred billion dollars. They have two guys that run it, David and Charles Koch, who are among the richest people in the world. They’re worth, individually, forty-three billion dollars. And what makes the Koch brothers interesting is how they use their wealth, and they largely use their wealth for two different causes. One is to deny that climate change is a reality, that it is actually occurring. And the second way they use their wealth is to get conservatives elected to office who will then further their corporate interests. So the problem is that getting the mainstream media to report about what these guys are doing is difficult. And I can speak about that from personal experience.
My name is Bruce Livesey, I’m an investigative journalist and television producer. And a few months ago, I produced a short documentary about the Koch brothers and their vast holdings in Alberta’s tar sands. And the tar sands are a big source of climate change controversy. And a couple days before the story was supposed to air, the top brass at Global pulled the story and they fired me soon afterwards. So the reason people should care about these guys is that the Koch brothers and some of their billionaire pals have put aside one billion dollars to get a Republican, their guy, basically, elected to the White House in the next presidential election. And this is all in the hopes of furthering their corporate ambitions, especially in the tar sands. So I would like to produce a documentary to expose all this and I’m looking for people’s support. And here’s some more information about the Koch brothers.
SPEAKER: Few people realize that the Koch brothers’ plan to get someone elected president is linked to Canada and the vast wealth locked up in Alberta’s controversial oil sands. The reason is because the brothers control as much as two million acres of the tar sands, worth tens of billions of dollars. In fact, the Koch’s fortune was made refining Canadian oil. Recently, U.S. President Barack Obama vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline, which was designed to export Alberta’s oil sands’ petroleum to the U.S. So it’s no surprise why the Koch brothers want a pro-pipeline Republican elected president. After all, they want to access their wealth, locked up in the oil sands. But climate scientists say up to two hundred and forty billion tons of carbon would be released into the atmosphere if the oil sands are developed. Meanwhile, it’s been left to comedy shows like the Daily Show to expose the problems with the Kochs.
BRUCE LIVESEY: So the good news is that The Real News Network, which is a Baltimore-based alternative TV network, wants to air this documentary about the Koch brothers. And so, we have an outlook forward, we just need the financing and I would appreciate if you could send some money our way.