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Updated 2019-02-15 19:20
Ibram X. Kendi on Surviving Cancer & His Anti-Racist Reading List for Virgina Gov. Northam
As we celebrate the remarkable life and legacy of Frederick Douglass on his 201st birthday, we are joined by Ibram X. Kendi, a professor of history and international relations and founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. Kendi spoke Thursday night at the Library of Congress at an event honoring Frederick Douglass. He is the National Book Award-winning author of "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America" and a contributing editor at The Atlantic.
"Agitate, Agitate, Agitate!": Great-Great-Great-Grandson Echoes Frederick Douglass on 201st Birthday
This month marks the 201st birthday of the renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass was born into slavery around 1818. He died a free man in 1895. Thursday night, leaders from around the country gathered at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to honor the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass as part of a ceremony culminating a year of events marking the bicentennial of the birth of the celebrated abolitionist, politician, writer, feminist, educator, entrepreneur and diplomat. We are joined by Kenneth Morris Jr., Frederick Douglass's great-great-great-grandson, president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and also the great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington. He says the lesson he hopes young activists will take from his great-great-great-grandfather Frederick Douglass is: "Agitate. Agitate. Agitate. ... It's really important that activists and young people understand that they can lift their voices and agitate."
Asylum Seekers Are Being Imprisoned in an Abandoned Factory in Mexico Under Trump Admin Policy
As Trump plans to declare a national emergency, we look at what some have called the real humanitarian crisis at the border. Riot police in northern Mexico blocked hundreds of desperate Central American migrants Wednesday as they tried to escape an abandoned factory complex where they've been imprisoned while waiting for the U.S. to process their asylum claims. More than 1,700 migrants have been held in the maquiladora in the Mexican border town of Piedras Negras since February 5, after they arrived in a caravan of people seeking asylum in the U.S. The vast majority have remained prisoners at the site, after the Trump administration adopted a "Remain in Mexico" policy for asylum seekers—processing just 15 asylum applications per day at the nearby Eagle Pass border crossing. We hear from a migrant adult and child who spoke with the Texas-based immigrant rights group RAICES, and get an update from Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES, the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.
Immigrant Activists: Democrats Are Capitulating to Trump by Approving Border, DHS Funding
President Trump is expected to declare a national emergency today to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border despite opposition from Congress, after he signs the latest spending bill, which includes nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers out of steel, far less than the $5.7 billion he requested. Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib issued a statement that they voted against the bill because it gives more funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "That is the right thing to do. We've been pushing for Democrats to do the right thing, to stop playing [Trump's] games," says our guest Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES, the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.
New Interior Sec. David Bernhardt May Violate Trump's Ethics Rule on Lobbyists in His Administration
According to an ethics complaint Public Citizen filed recently with the Interior Department's ethics official and inspector general, President Trump's selection of David Bernhardt as secretary of the Interior Department appears to have violated Trump's executive order barring officials from working on any issues they had lobbied on in the two years prior to joining the administration. The complaint notes Bernhardt lobbied extensively on the Endangered Species Act, most recently on behalf of the Westlands Water District in 2016, when he reported lobbying on "potential legislation regarding the Bureau of Reclamation and the Endangered Species Act." We speak with Public Citizen President Robert Weissman.
Public Citizen: Trump’s National Emergency Declaration Paves Way for Sweeping Authoritarianism
With one day left to pass a government spending bill before today's midnight deadline to avert another government shutdown, both the House and Senate passed the measure Thursday that came out of the bipartisan conference committee earlier this week. The bill includes nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of new border barriers out of steel, far less than the $5.7 billion requested by President Trump. Democrats quickly condemned the news, and consumer rights nonprofit Public Citizen vowed legal action against him. We speak with Public Citizen President Robert Weissman.
Headlines for February 15, 2019
Trump to Use National Emergency Declaration to Build Border Wall, "It's Incredible": Rep. Ocasio-Cortez on Amazon Scrapping NYC Project After Grassroots Protests, Report: Amazon to Pay No Federal Taxes Despite Making $11 Billion in Reported Profits, Denver Teachers Declare Victory After 3-Day Strike, More U.S. Workers Went on Strike in 2018 Than in Any Year in Three Decades, Parkland Shooting Survivor Emma González: "We Fight Our Trauma by Fighting Against Gun Violence", William Barr Sworn In as Attorney General After Senate Confirmation, Former Deputy FBI Director Speaks Out on Launching Counterintelligence Probe of Trump, Pence Urges Europe to Pull Out of Iran Nuke Deal, Venezuela Accuses Elliott Abrams of Threatening to Deploy U.S. Troops, Cuba Claims U.S. Has Begun Moving Special Forces into Caribbean to Get Closer to Venezuela, India Blames Pakistan After Dozens of Indian Soldiers Killed in Kashmir, Egyptian Parliament Clears Way for el-Sisi to Rule Until 2034, U.S. Indian Health Service Faces Probe After Pedophile Doctor Allowed to Keep Working for Decades, Ex-Trump Officials Ryan Zinke & Corey Lewandowski Join D.C. Lobbying Firm, ACLU Sues over New U.S. Asylum Policy, Probe Begins into Disappearance of Saudi Students in U.S. Facing Criminal Charges, DNC Announces First Presidential Primary Debates Will Be Held in June
One Year After Parkland, 1,200 More Kids Are Dead by Gunfire—But Students Still Fight for Gun Safety
It's been one year since the devastating massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School—the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that galvanized the nation to take action against gun violence and turned a generation of young people into activists. On February 14, 2018, a former student armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire, gunning down 17 students, staff and teachers in just three minutes. It was one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. Students who survived the massacre quickly came to national prominence as leading activists for gun control. We speak with Lois Beckett, senior reporter at The Guardian covering gun policy. Her latest piece is titled "'We can't let fear consume us': why Parkland activists won't give up."
Roberto Lovato: Elliott Abrams Is Bringing Violence of 1980s U.S. Latin America Policy to Venezuela
President Trump met with Colombian President Iván Duque at the White House Wednesday to discuss ongoing efforts to topple the Venezuelan government, the same day that U.S. special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams faced questioning from Congress about his role in atrocities carried out in Latin America in the 1980s. This includes defending Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt's campaign of mass murder and torture of indigenous people. We speak with Roberto Lovato, independent journalist working out of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, about the violent history of Elliott Abrams and the U.S.-backed opposition in Venezuela.
Ilhan Omar Grills Trump's Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams on His Role in US-Backed Genocide in 1980s
The new U.S. special envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, testified on Capitol Hill Wednesday on U.S. efforts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Abrams spoke three weeks after the U.S. recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's new president. Since then, the U.S. has placed sweeping sanctions on Venezuela's state-run oil company and rejected calls for an international dialogue to resolve the crisis. Elliott Abrams is a right-wing hawk who was convicted in 1991 for lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra scandal, but he was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. Abrams defended Guatemalan dictator General Efraín Ríos Montt as he oversaw a campaign of mass murder and torture of indigenous people in Guatemala in the 1980s. Ríos Montt was later convicted of genocide. Abrams was also linked to the 2002 coup in Venezuela that attempted to topple Hugo Chávez. Democratic Congressmember Ilhan Omar of Minnesota questioned Abrams about his record on Wednesday during his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Headlines for February 14, 2019
Congress to Vote on Spending Bill with $1.4 Billion for Border Wall, Mexico: Migrant Asylum Seekers Imprisoned in Abandoned Factory, House Votes to End U.S. Support for Saudi-Led War in Yemen, EU Adds Saudi Arabia, U.S. Territories to "Dirty Money" Blacklist, Afghan Taliban to Meet U.S. Envoys in Pakistan for Peace Talks, U.S. Bombings in Afghanistan Approached Record Levels in 2018, Iran: Suicide Bomber Kills 27 Revolutionary Guard Members, Trump Administration Convenes Anti-Iran Summit in Warsaw, Giuliani Calls for Regime Change in Iran at Rally Hosted by Terrorist-Linked Group, NYT: Trump Admin Expanded Program to Sabotage Iran's Rockets, Rep. Ilhan Omar Grills U.S. Venezuela Envoy over Role in U.S.-Backed Massacres, House Committee Advances First Gun Control Legislation Since 2007, FEMA Administrator Brock Long Resigns, Judge Rules Paul Manafort Intentionally Lied, Breaking Plea Deal, Top Democrat Suggests Acting AG Matthew Whitaker Lied to Congress, A Record 7 Million Americans At Least 90 Days Behind on Car Payments, Argentina: Tens of Thousands March Against IMF-Imposed Austerity, Philippines Journalist Maria Ressa Released on Bail
Atlanta School Cheating Scandal: The Untold Story of Corporate Greed & Criminalization of Teachers
As teacher strikes in Denver and Los Angeles join a wave of recent labor actions bringing attention to the plight of the American public school system, we take a fresh look at one of the largest public school scandals in U.S. history. Public schools in Atlanta, Georgia, were thrown into chaos in 2015 when 11 former educators were convicted in 2015 of racketeering and other charges for allegedly facilitating a massive cheating operation on standardized tests. Prosecutors said the teachers were forced to modify incorrect answers and students were even allowed to fix their responses during exams. The case has fueled criticism of the education system's reliance on standardized testing, and elicited calls of racism. Thirty-four of the 35 educators indicted in the scandal were African-American. We speak with Shani Robinson, one of the 11 convicted teachers, who has written a new book on the cheating scandal with journalist Anna Simonton. It's titled "None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators."
Venezuela Accuses U.S. of Secretly Shipping Arms After Weapons Found on Plane with Possible CIA Ties
A North Carolina-based air freight company has halted flights to Venezuela following a report by McClatchy linking it to possible arms smuggling. Last week, Venezuelan authorities claimed they had uncovered 19 assault weapons, 118 ammunition cartridges and 90 military-grade radio antennas on board a U.S.-owned plane that had flown from Miami into Valencia, Venezuela's third-largest city. The Boeing 767 is owned by a company called 21 Air based in Greensboro, North Carolina. The plane had made nearly 40 round-trip flights between Miami and spots in Venezuela and Colombia since January 11, the day after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was sworn in to a second term. The flights ended after McClatchy first reported on them. Venezuela accused the U.S. government of sending the arms as part of its attempt to topple the Maduro government. While no definitive links between 21 Air and the U.S. government have been established, McClatchy reports the chairman of 21 Air, Adolfo Moreno, as well as another employee at the company have ties to Gemini Air Cargo, which was involved in the CIA's rendition program during the administration of George W. Bush. We speak to McClatchy reporter Tim Johnson, who broke the story. Johnson was part of a team that shared a 2017 Pulitzer Prize for its investigation of the Panama Papers.
Headlines for February 13, 2019
Trump Remains Evasive on Funding Deal as Shutdown Deadline Approaches, Venezuelans Take to the Streets as Guaidó Sets Deadline for Aid to Enter Country, Venezuela's Guaidó Says He's in Talks to Restore Ties with Israel, Venezuelan President Maduro Says Trump Admin Run by KKK, Philippines: Journalist and Rappler Founder Maria Ressa Arrested, Spain: Catalan Leaders Stand Trial for 2017 Independence Bid, Turkey Issues 1,100 Arrest Warrants in Opposition Crackdown, Acting Defense Secretary Makes Surprise Trip to Iraq, Senate Passes Bill Protecting 1 Million Acres of Public Lands, NYC Jury Finds El Chapo Guilty on All Charges, Report Uncovers 20 Years of Sexual Abuse in Southern Baptist Church, Families Sue Gov't over Family Separation Policy, Measles Outbreak Attributed to Refusal to Vaccinate, CA Police Officers Fatally Shoot Rapper Who Was Sleeping in His Car, Nehanda Abiodun, Black Revolutionary and "Godmother of Cuban Hip-Hop," Dies at 86
The End of Ice: Dahr Jamail on Climate Disruption from the Melting Himalayas to Insect Extinction
A new report finds at least a third of the Himalayan ice cap will melt by the end of the century due to climate change, even if the world's most ambitious environmental reforms are implemented. The report, released by the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment earlier this month, is the culmination of half a decade's work by over 200 scientists, with an additional 125 experts peer reviewing their work. It warns rising temperatures in the Himalayas could lead to mass population displacement, as well as catastrophic food and water insecurity. The glaciers are a vital water source for the 250 million people who live in the Hindu Kush Himalaya range, which spans from Afghanistan to Burma. More than 1.5 billion people depend on the rivers that flow from the Himalayan peaks. We speak with Dahr Jamail, independent journalist and Truthout staff reporter. He is the author of the new book "The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption."
Wright State Faculty Ends One of the Longest Strikes at a Public University in U.S. History
In Dayton, Ohio, faculty members at Wright State University have just concluded one of the longest public university strikes in U.S. history. On Sunday, the university's administration reached a tentative contract agreement with the faculty union's executive committee, which union members will vote to ratify in coming days. The strike began late last month, when the university imposed a contract on faculty members that worsened working conditions and decreased benefits. When the administration refused to negotiate, 85 percent of Wright State University's union members voted to authorize a strike. We speak with Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the American Association of University Professors. He is the chief negotiator for the association's chapter at Wright State University, where he is professor emeritus of economics.
Denver Teachers Strike over Bonus-Based Pay System, Demanding Reliable Salary Plan & Better Wages
Public school teachers in Denver, Colorado, are striking for the second day, after negotiations between the teachers' union and the school district failed to reach a contract over the weekend. The Denver Classroom Teachers Association is demanding an increase in teachers' base salaries rather than putting money in incentives and bonuses. The Denver teachers walked out Monday following 15 months of negotiations over a controversial bonus-based pay system that educators say leaves them unable to predict their salaries and guarantee financial security. The starting salary for a Denver teacher for the 2019-2020 school year is $43,255, according to The Denver Post. This is the district's first teacher strike in 25 years. We speak with Henry Román, a Denver elementary school teacher and president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.
Headlines for February 12, 2019
Negotiators Reach Tentative Border Funding Deal as Shutdown Looms, Trump and Beto O'Rourke Hold Rival Rallies in El Paso, Rep. Ilhan Omar Apologizes for Critical AIPAC Tweet, Report: 40% of Insects May Go Extinct in Near Future, Yemen: Grain Supplies at Risk of Rotting as Millions Face Famine Risk, Syria: Airstrikes in ISIS Stronghold Kill Scores of Civilians, Mexico: Veteran Radio Reporter Jesús Ramos Rodríguez Murdered, Mexico: LGBT Activist Óscar Cazorla Found Dead, Cameroon: Hospital Arson Kills At Least 4 Amid Mounting Violence, Honduran and Nepali TPS Holders Sue Trump Administration, WSJ: Nat'l Enquirer Asked DOJ If It Should Register as Foreign Agent, Faculty at Wright State University End 20-Day Strike, Hartford Courant Journalists to Unionize
Greenwald: How Can Democrats Support Trump's Push for Regime Change to Seize Venezuela’s Oil?
The U.S. and Russia have proposed opposing draft resolutions at the U.N. Security Council as the leadership crisis in Venezuela deepens. The U.S. is calling for elections in Venezuela and for international aid deliveries to be allowed to enter the country. The Russians called out international intervention in the affairs of Venezuela and the threat of foreign military action. The Venezuelan government of Nicolás Maduro is accusing the United States of attempting to stage a coup. We speak to The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald about the actions of Washington and of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
"This Is Just the Beginning": Greenwald on Rising State Violence & Homophobia in Bolsonaro's Brazil
On Friday, an operation by Brazilian military police in Rio de Janeiro left at least 13 people dead after a shootout in the neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Police say they were there to investigate suspected drug traffickers but encountered gunfire when they entered the area. Last month, Rio's new governor, Wilson Witzel, said that city security forces were authorized to shoot to kill suspects. He also said Rio should have its own Guantánamo Bay to house criminals, whom he labeled "terrorists." Brazil's new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has vowed to intensify the war on drugs. While running for president, Bolsonaro said a "good criminal is a dead criminal." In other news from Brazil, Brazil's first elected openly gay federal lawmaker, Jean Wyllys, recently left his post and fled Brazil, amid growing homophobic violence coinciding with the rise of Bolsonaro. He was replaced in Brazil's Congress by David Miranda, a Rio city councilmember and husband of our guest, Glenn Greenwald.
Glenn Greenwald Defends Rep. Ilhan Omar: Criticizing Israeli Lobby & AIPAC Is Not Anti-Semitic
Democratic Congressmember Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is facing criticism today after commenting on a tweet by Glenn Greenwald. On Sunday, Greenwald tweeted, "GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib over their criticisms of Israel. It's stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans." Rep. Omar retweeted his post and added the line: "It's all about the Benjamins baby." She later named AIPAC as the organization paying American politicians to be pro-Israel.
Glenn Greenwald: As Bezos Protests Invasion of His Privacy, Amazon Builds Global Surveillance State
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is publicly accusing the owner of the National Enquirer of "extortion and blackmail," weeks after the paper revealed details about his extramarital affair. Bezos had recently hired a private investigator to determine how the tabloid newspaper obtained private text messages between him and his lover, and whether the paper's actions were politically motivated. The National Enquirer's parent company, American Media, Inc., responded to Bezos's investigation by threatening to publish revealing photos of Bezos if he did not agree to publicly state that the Enquirer's coverage was not politically motivated or influenced by political forces. We speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald about the dispute and Amazon's role in building the surveillance state.
Headlines for February 11, 2019
Shutdown Talks Stall as Friday Deadline Looms, Virginia: Gov. Northam Refuses to Step Down Amid Racism Crisis, Second Woman Accuses Virginia Lt. Gov. Fairfax of Rape, Venezuela: U.S. and Russia Dig In at U.N. with Rival Resolutions, Venezuela: Standoff over Aid Pits Military Against Guaidó Supporters, Rio: At Least 13 Dead in Shootout, Haiti: At Least 2 Killed in Anti-Government Protests, Gaza: Israeli Forces Kill 2 Teenage Protesters, Acting Pentagon Chief: No Orders to Withdraw U.S. Troops from Afghanistan, AMI, Saudi Official Respond After Bezos Accuses Nat'l Enquirer of Blackmail, Denver Public School Teachers Go on Strike, Keystone Likely Responsible for MO Oil Spill, NYC: Protesters Blast Guggenheim's Ties to Sackler Family, WaPo: Amazon May Reconsider NYC HQ2 Deal, Sen. Amy Klobuchar Enters 2020 Presidential Race, Sen. Elizabeth Warren Formally Launches 2020 Presidential Run, Grammys Celebrates Firsts, Highlighting Women and Rap, GOP Rep. Walter Jones, Who Shifted Position on Iraq War, Dies at 76
Dems Accuse Trump Admin of "State-Sponsored Child Abuse" as Separated Migrant Children Scandal Grows
Trump administration officials are acknowledging that there may be thousands more missing immigrant children who were separated from their parents than originally reported. This was the focus of a hearing on Thursday of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. We speak to Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project. He is the lead lawyer on the ACLU’s national challenge to the Trump administration’s family separation practice. He testified at the hearing yesterday.
Ocasio-Cortez & Markey Unveil Sweeping "Green New Deal" to Radically Shift U.S. Off Fossil Fuels
After months of anticipation, Democratic New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey introduced a resolution for the Green New Deal Thursday, presenting a sweeping plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, make major investments in public transit and federal jobs, fully transition the U.S. electricity off fossil fuels and codify indigenous peoples' rights to prior consent and approval for decisions that affect them. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed to mock the proposal on Wednesday, referring to it as a "green dream, or whatever they call it." We speak to journalist Kate Aronoff, a fellow at the Type Media Center and a contributing writer to The Intercept and Jacobin.
Planned Parenthood: SCOTUS Halts Louisiana Abortion Law for Now, But Roe v. Wade Fate Uncertain
The Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a restrictive Louisiana anti-choice law from going into effect Thursday, in a major victory for reproductive rights advocates. The case was seen as a litmus test for determining whether millions of women across the nation will continue to have access to abortions. The divided court ruled 5 to 4 in favor of an emergency appeal by a Louisiana-based abortion provider, Hope Medical Group for Women, to temporarily block a Republican-backed law that could have left the state with just a single doctor legally allowed to perform abortions. The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. Pro-choice groups call such statutes TRAP laws, or "targeted regulation of abortion providers." We speak to Dr. Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Headlines for February 8, 2019
Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Louisiana Abortion Law, Green New Deal: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez & Sen. Markey Introduce Landmark Resolution, U.S. Spy Agencies: Saudi Crown Prince Said He Would Go After Khashoggi "With a Bullet", Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Accuses National Enquirer of "Extortion and Blackmail", Report: U.S.-Based Plane Caught Bringing Arms into Venezuela, U.S. Special Envoy Elliott Abrams Rules Out Negotiations with Maduro, Senate Judiciary Committee Narrowly Backs William Barr to Become Attorney General, Acting AG Matthew Whitaker to Testify on Capitol Hill, Arizona Prisoner Dies Weeks After Warning "I Am Being Killed" Due to Medical Neglect, Protesters Rally Outside Brooklyn Jail Where Prisoners Were Held Without Heat, Video Shows Penn. School Officer Attacking Black Teenage Girl, Frank Robinson, Major League Baseball's First Black Manager, Dies at 83, John Dingell, Longest-Serving Member of Congress, Dies at 92
Meet Victorina Morales, an Undocumented Immigrant Who Spent Five Years as Trump's Housekeeper
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is calling on the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to investigate whether employees at Trump National Golf Club broke the law by helping undocumented employees obtain fake work papers amid news reports that the Trump company has fired at least 18 undocumented workers from five golf courses in New York and New Jersey in the past two months. On Monday, Menendez called on the federal government to allow former undocumented employees of the Trump properties to remain in the country while the investigation proceeds. We speak with an undocumented housekeeper from Guatemala named Victorina Morales, who helped expose what was happening on the Trump properties by speaking on the record to The New York Times. Morales spent years making Donald Trump's bed and performing other duties at his New Jersey club, even though she was undocumented. She attended the State of the Union as a guest of Democratic Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey. We speak with Morales, Watson Coleman and Morales's lawyer, Anibal Romero.
Political Scientist: Blackface Is a National Problem & Virginia's Top Officials Must Step Down
A reckoning about racism and sexual assault has left Virginia's government in disarray, with the state's top three elected officials—all Democrats—facing political crises that threaten to upend their careers and the state's leadership. The controversy that has enveloped Virginia since Governor Ralph Northam admitted last week to wearing blackface took a shocking turn Wednesday, when Attorney General Mark Herring also admitted to wearing blackface at a college party. Just days prior, Herring—who is second in line for Virginia's governorship—had called for Governor Northam to resign. The first in line, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, is also embroiled in scandal after a woman who's accused him of sexual assault came forward Wednesday with details of the encounter. Governor Northam has refused to step down since a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook page emerged featuring a man wearing blackface posing next to a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit. If all three of the Democratic politicians resign, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox is next in line to become governor. We speak with Khalilah Brown-Dean, an associate professor of political science at Quinnipiac University, who is from Lynchburg, Virginia, and a graduate of the University of Virginia. Her forthcoming book is titled "Identity Politics in the United States."
Headlines for February 7, 2019
Professor Details Sexual Assault Allegations Against Virginia Lt. Gov., Virginia AG Mark Herring Says He Wore Blackface at 1980 College Party, NASA and NOAA Data Show 2018 Was Among Hottest Years on Record, House Democrats Hold Hearing on Bill to Expand Gun Background Checks, House Advances Bill to End U.S. Support for Saudi-Led War in Yemen, Taliban Says U.S. Has Agreed to Halve Its Afghanistan Troop Presence, Honduran Prosecutors: Energy Executive Masterminded Berta Cáceres Murder, New Mexico Governor Withdraws National Guard from U.S.-Mexico Border, Pentagon Deploys 3,750 Additional Troops to U.S.-Mexico Border, Supreme Court to Rule on Restrictive Louisiana Anti-Choice Law, Civil Rights Groups Challenge Texas Voter Purge Targeting Immigrants, Trump Administration to Roll Back Payday Loan Regulations, Teachers in Chicago and Oakland Take Labor Action, Izzy Young, Who Led American Folk Music Revival, Dies at 90
Puerto Rico: Vulture Funds to Make a Killing as Judge Approves Deal to Restructure Island's Debt
A federal judge has approved a plan for Puerto Rico to restructure a portion of its debt which would require Puerto Rico to pay $32 billion over 40 years. Critics say the deal will allow vulture funds to make huge profits by buying up those debts. Several of those vulture funds include public employee pension funds and the investment funds of Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who held a hearing on the proposed deal last month, echoed critics' concerns about Puerto Rico's ability to make the payments and the likely effects on public services. However, she said in her decision, "[T]he Court is not free to impose its own view of what the optimal resolution of the dispute could have been."
Ana María Archila: Brett Kavanaugh's Presence at SOTU Represented Failure of U.S. Democracy
As we continue to discuss President Trump's State of the Union, we are joined by Ana María Archila, co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy. She attended the address as a guest of New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In September, Archila made headlines when she, along with another woman, Maria Gallagher, confronted Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona in an elevator after he announced his support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. Shortly after the confrontation, Sen. Flake called for a delay of the Senate vote pending a limited FBI investigation.
"Liar-in-Chief": Rep. Ilhan Omar Slams Trump's SOTU Remarks on Border, Venezuela, Israel & More
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Trump called for bipartisan unity while he attacked Democrats and the Robert Mueller investigation, denounced efforts to expand abortion rights in Virginia and New York, attacked immigrants and reiterated his demand for a border wall—with no mention of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, which delayed his address by a week. Women in Congress wore all white to the speech in a nod to the movement for women's suffrage. After the address, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams made history, becoming the first African-American woman to give the Democratic response. We're joined by Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, the first Somali American elected to the House of Representatives and one of the first Muslim women in Congress. Her guest at last night's presidential address was a Liberian woman who fled to Minnesota in 2000 due to civil war and is now facing the threat of deportation from the United States.
Headlines for February 6, 2019
Trump Attacks Immigrants, Abortion Rights, Democratic Investigations in SOTU, Stacey Abrams Slams Gov't Shutdown, Voter Suppression in SOTU Response, School Apologizes for Racist Yearbook Photos as VA Gov. Northam Resists Resignation, Pope Francis Acknowledges Priests Sexually Abused Nuns, Ex-President of Costa Rica Accused of Sexual Assault, At Least 29 Haitian Migrants Killed in Shipwreck, Taliban Attacks Kill 50 in Afghanistan, CNN: Saudis Gave U.S. Weapons to al-Qaeda, Other Militants in Yemen, CENTCOM Head Was Not Notified of U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Syria, Anti-BDS Lawsuit Against Salaita & American Studies Association Dismissed, Senate Passes Anti-BDS Bill, Dems Grill Trump Judicial Pick Rao on Past Sexual Assault Victim Blaming, Ex-Koch Official Overseeing EPA Water Regulations, The Intercept: Pelosi Aide Told Health Insurance Reps Dems Will Oppose Single Payer, Judge Approves Major Debt Restructuring Plan for Puerto Rico, Alabama AG Clears Officer for Killing Man Wrongly Believed to Be Mall Shooter, NYC Judge Visits Jail Where Inmates Suffered Freezing Conditions with No Power, Grammy-Nominated Artist 21 Savage Detained by ICE
Trial of El Chapo Highlights Failure of U.S. War on Drugs, But Will U.S. Ever Be Held to Account?
Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the notorious Mexican drug kingpin, has been on trial in New York City for 11 weeks. A federal jury headed into deliberations yesterday after more than 200 hours of testimony at the Federal District Court in Brooklyn revealing the inner workings of the Sinaloa Cartel, the major drug trafficking organization run by El Chapo. Fifty-six witnesses took to the stand with stories of murder, violence, spying, widespread corruption and even one tale of the drug lord escaping arrest in 2014 by climbing naked through a sewer alongside a former lover. El Chapo faces 10 charges, including leading a criminal enterprise, and could receive life in prison in the U.S. if convicted. The trial concludes as Donald Trump continues to call for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which he claims will help combat drug trafficking. However, government data shows most of the hard narcotics seized by Customs and Border Protection come at legal ports of entry, not from people trying to secretly cross the southern border. We speak with Christy Thornton, an assistant professor of sociology and Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University, who says El Chapo's sensational trial is obscuring the truth about the so-called war on drugs.
What's Next for Venezuela as U.S. & Opposition Reject Negotiations Aimed to End Crisis Peacefully?
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has reached out to Pope Francis, asking for his help to bring about a peaceful solution to the crisis in Venezuela. Maduro is facing increasing international pressure to resign from office two weeks after opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself to be Venezuela's interim president. Guaidó made the announcement on January 23 after speaking to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who offered support from the Trump administration. Since then, a growing number of countries have openly recognized Guaidó's claim to the presidency, including Austria, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden. Italy has blocked a European Union statement recognizing Guaidó, and Ireland and Greece have called for new elections but have not recognized Guaidó's claim to the presidency. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan opposition and the United States have rejected an offer by Mexico and Uruguay to host talks between the two sides. We speak to David Smilde, senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America and professor of sociology at Tulane University. And in California, we speak to Miguel Tinker Salas, professor at Pomona College and author of "The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela" and "Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know."
Headlines for February 5, 2019
Venezuela: European Leaders, Lima Group Recognize Guaidó as President, VA Gov. Northam Delays Resignation Decision over Racist Yearbook Photo, VA Lt. Gov. Fairfax Denies 2004 Sexual Assault Accusation, Old Photo of Sen. McConnell in Front of Confederate Flag Resurfaces, Dems Invite Targets of Trump Policies to SOTU Address, Trump to Nominate David Malpass to Head World Bank, Trump to Nominate Ex-Oil Lobbyist Bernhardt as Head of Interior Dept., Iraqi President Salih Blasts Trump for Saying U.S. Troops Will Monitor Iran from Iraq, Somalia: Al-Shabab Claims Car Bomb & Shooting That Kills At Least 12, U.K. Panel: Saudi Arabia Responsible for Abuse of Women Activists, Israeli Forces Kill 19-Year-Old Palestinian in West Bank, Mexico Will Search for 10,000s Disappeared in Drug War, Leaked Trump Schedule Shows 60% Unstructured "Executive Time", DOJ Subpoenas Trump 2016 Inaugural Committee, NY Dems Name Amazon Critic to HQ2 Review Board, Utah GOP Rolls Back Voter-Approved Medicaid Expansion, Report: Climate Change Will Reduce Himalayan Glaciers by At Least 1/3, Activists Arrested After Shutting Off Enbridge Pipeline Valves
Lights Back On at NYC Jail After Hundreds Protest, But Prisoners Still Without Heat in Winter
More than 1,600 prisoners at a Brooklyn federal detention center were forced to endure freezing temperatures during last week's polar vortex, with no heat, no light, no hot water for showers and no hot meals. Demonstrators rallied throughout the weekend to protest the conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center, which is run by the Bureau of Prisons. Prisoners communicated with protesters by banging on the jail windows. On Sunday afternoon, some of the protesters, including family members of those incarcerated, were pepper-sprayed by guards. Democracy Now! was there on the ground. By 6:30 p.m., officials said electricity was restored. We speak with Brad Lander, a New York city councilmember who spoke with prisoners and prison officials this weekend.
Historian: Americans Must Face Violent History of Blackface Amid Virginia Gov. Racist Photo Scandal
We discuss the history behind calls for Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to resign after a photo surfaced on his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page showing a man wearing blackface posing next to a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit. The yearbook also features an image of a white man in a wig, dress and black face. The photo's caption reads, "'Baby Love,' who ever thought Diana Ross would make it to Medical School!" Another photo in the yearbook shows three men in blackface. We are joined by Rhae Lynn Barnes, assistant professor of American cultural history at Princeton University and author of the forthcoming book "Darkology: When the American Dream Wore Blackface." Her new article for The Washington Post is headlined "The troubling history behind Ralph Northam's blackface Klan photo."
As Virginia Governor Waffles on Blackface Yearbook Photo, NAACP Leader Calls His Apology "Invalid"
Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is facing calls to resign after a photo surfaced on his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page showing a man wearing blackface posing next to a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam apologized for the photo on Friday, but walked back his statements on Saturday, claiming neither of the men in the photo was him. He did admit to using blackface to portray Michael Jackson at a dance contest. We speak with Reverend Kevin Chandler, president of the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP.
Virginia Legislative Black Caucus: Governor Northam Must Resign over Blackface Yearbook Photo
Calls are mounting for Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to resign after a photo surfaced from his medical school yearbook page showing a man wearing blackface posing next to a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit. On Friday, Northam apologized for the photo in his 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook. However, on Saturday, he reversed course and claimed neither of the men in the racist yearbook photo was him as he initially thought. As Northam resisted growing calls for his resignation, he admitted to a separate instance of blackface: darkening his face to imitate Michael Jackson in a 1984 dance contest. Meanwhile, a separate 1981 yearbook from the Virginia Military Institute has surfaced revealing Northam was known by the racist nickname "Coonman" as an undergraduate student there. We get response from Lamont Bagby, chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, who is calling for Governor Northam to step down.
Headlines for February 4, 2019
Calls Mount for VA Gov. Northam to Resign over Racist Yearbook Photo, Trump Sends Aid to Venezuela, Says Military Intervention "An Option", Trump: U.S. Should Maintain Troops in Iraq to "Watch" Iran, Trump Floats Another Gov't Shutdown or Nat'l Emergency over Border Wall Funding, El Salvador Elects Outsider Nayib Bukele as President, Mexico Denies Entry to U.S Lawyers & Journalists Working with Migrants, Iraq: Gunman Shoots Novelist Alaa Mashzoub, Amnesty Int'l: Boko Haram Killed At Least 60 in Nigeria Attack Last Week, Russia Suspends INF in Response to U.S. Withdrawal, U.N.: At Least 29 Children Died on Way to Syrian Refugee Camp Since December, Vice Media, McClatchy Cuts Add to Spate of Media Layoffs, Foxconn Commits to Building Wisconsin LCD Panel Plant, Sen. Warren Apologizes to Cherokee Nation for DNA Test, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Launches 2020 Presidential Bid, NYC: Protesters Rally Outside Jail After Inmates Report No Heat & No Power
A Modern-Day Lynching?: "Always in Season" Looks at 2014 Hanging in NC & Legacy of Racial Terrorism
As we mark the beginning of Black History Month, we look at "Always in Season," a disturbing new documentary that examines lynching in the United States both past and present. It interviews Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, which built the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery to remember the more than 4,000 African Americans lynched in the United States. It also looks closely at the case of Lennon Lacy, a 17-year-old African-American high school student who, on August 29, 2014, was found hanging from two belts attached to a wooden swing set in a largely white trailer park in Bladenboro, North Carolina. At the time of his death, Lacy was dating an older white woman. Local authorities quickly determined his death to be a suicide, but Lacy's family and local civil rights activists feared authorities may have been covering up a lynching. We speak with Lacy's mother, Claudia Lacy, and Jacqueline Olive, the director of "Always in Season."
"Do We as a Society Have a Right to Kill?": Chinonye Chukwu’s Film "Clemency" Examines Death Penalty
As the state of Texas this week carried out the nation's first execution of the year, we look at "Clemency," a new film starring Alfre Woodard that examines the death penalty from the perspective of those who have to carry out executions as well as the condemned. Woodard portrays prison warden Bernadine Williams as she prepares to oversee what would be her 12th execution as warden in the aftermath of one that was horribly botched. As her life seems to unravel, Williams, for the first time, grapples with what it means to be part of a system of state-sanctioned murder, as the execution date for Anthony Woods, played by Aldis Hodge, gets closer. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. We speak with Nigerian-American writer-director Chinonye Chukwu, who says she was inspired to take on the subject after the execution of Troy Anthony Davis, who was put to death by the state of Georgia on September 21, 2011. Davis's execution was carried out despite major doubts about evidence used to convict him of killing police officer Mark MacPhail, and his death helped fuel the national movement to abolish the death penalty.
Headlines for February 1, 2019
WSJ: After Venezuela, U.S. to Target Cuba in Effort to Reshape Latin America, Venezuela: Guaidó Seeks Support from Russia, China as Maduro Gov't Remains Defiant, U.S. Announces Withdrawal from INF, Sen. Sanders Proposes Expanding Estate Tax for Wealthiest Americans, Senate Bill Opposes U.S. Withdrawal from Syria & Afghanistan, Trump Dismisses Funding Talks 2 Weeks Ahead of Gov't Shutdown Deadline, Progressive Dems: "Not Another Dollar" for DHS, Court: Syrian Gov't Responsible for Killing War Reporter Marie Colvin, Somalia: U.S. Airstrike Kills 24 al-Shabab Militants, Reports: EPA Won't Set Limits on Harmful Chemicals in Drinking Water, Pharma Co. Insys Accused of Bribing Doctors to Prescribe Fentanyl , DHS Created Fake School to Catch Immigration Violators, ICE Is Force-Feeding Immigrant Prisoners in Texas, McConnell: Dem. Move to Make Election Day a Holiday Is a "Power Grab", Jezebel: FBI Warned Law Enforcement of "Pro-Abortion Extremists", FBI Investigated Group That Protested Far-Right Rally, Considered KKK as Victims, Texas Catholic Church Identifies 286 Priests Accused of Sexually Abusing Children, NJ Sen. Cory Booker Announces 2020 Presidential Run
"RBG" Documentary Nominated for Academy Award as Supreme Court Justice Recovers from Lung Surgery
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently missed oral arguments as she continues to recover after having two tumors removed from her lung last month. But the Supreme Court has said she is cancer-free and that the 85-year-old, now three-time cancer-surviving justice, has been reviewing arguments and weighing in on cases from home. Meanwhile, the documentary "RBG" about her life has been nominated for an Academy Award. At the Sundance Film Festival, we speak with Julie Cohen, one of the film's directors.
Tessa Thompson & Time's Up Call on Hollywood to Work with More Women Directors in #4PercentChallenge
Acclaimed actor Tessa Thompson joins us at the Sundance Film Festival to talk about the Me Too movement and the Time's Up initiative, which is pushing Hollywood studios and actors to commit to work with women directors in its new #4PercentChallenge. Time's Up is about "addressing safety in the workplace," says actor Thompson. "It's really looking at imbalance of power."
Dialogue: Women's March Leaders on Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Racism & More
Thousands took to the streets for women's marches across the country on January 19, exactly two years after Donald Trump's inauguration sparked a burgeoning women's movement. But some of this year's marches were steeped in controversy. In November, Teresa Shook, one of the founders of the Women's March movement, called for the removal of the four national co-chairs: Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour. She accused them of allowing "anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform." Much of the criticism focused on links between some of the co-chairs and the Nation of Islam's Minister Louis Farrakhan, who has been widely accused of being anti-Semitic. A new documentary premiering at the Sundance Film Festival captures how Mallory and the movement handled the crisis. It's called "This Is Personal." On Monday, Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour joined Rebecca Walker, author of the autobiography "Black, White, and Jewish," and Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, to discuss the controversy.
Stacey Abrams: "We Have to Work Harder" Than Those Who Would Suppress the Vote
Democrats have selected former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to deliver the response to President Trump's State of the Union address. The address will take place on Tuesday, after being delayed due to the government shutdown. Abrams will become the first person not in public office to respond to the president, as well as the first African-American woman to deliver the response. She recently launched Fair Fight Action, a voting rights advocacy group, after she narrowly lost Georgia's governor's race to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who was widely accused of suppressing the vote. In mid-November, Abrams refused to concede the race, and Fair Fight Action is now suing Georgia election officials for mismanagement of the midterm elections. We recently spoke to Abrams in Los Angeles, where she was attending the National Day of Racial Healing. "Our responsibility doesn't end on Election Day," she said. "The minute the elections are over, the people who won—who did not share our values—are going to be working hard. We have to be working even harder."
Headlines for January 31, 2019
Venezuela: U.S. Urges Military to Back Guaidó as Protesters Take to Streets, Reuters: UAE Hired Ex-NSA Agents to Spy on Opponents and Critics, Congress Reintroduces War Powers Resolution to End War on Yemen, Trump Hits Back After Intelligence Chiefs Contradict Him on Iran, N. Korea, Israeli Forces Kill Teenage Palestinian Girl at West Bank Checkpoint, Israel: Thousands of Israeli Ethiopians Protest Racism, Police Brutality, Migrants: Scores Killed in 2 Boat Wrecks Off Djibouti Coast, Humanitarian Ship Docks in Italy After European Nations Agree to Process Migrants, Colombia: 2 Community Leaders Killed Amid Mounting Attacks on Activists, Philippines: Grenade Kills 2, Injures 4 in Mosque Attack, Thailand: Toxic Smog Blankets Bangkok, Shuts Down Schools, Special Counsel Says 1,000+ Confidential Files Leaked by Russians, Foxconn May Drop Plan to Produce LCD Panels at Wisconsin Plant, At Least 10 Dead as Polar Vortex Disrupts Travel, School, USPS, Report: FDA Failing to Protect Young People from Vaping Risks, Morton Sobell, Co-Defendant of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, Dies at 101
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