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Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Ideal Presidential Candidate Would Have "Greater Acknowledgment of History"

Democracy Now - Fri 07 40 AM

Acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates made headlines this week when he said on Democracy Now! that he would be voting for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Coates had previously penned a widely read article criticizing the Vermont senator for saying he did not support reparations for slavery because it was too "divisive" an issue. But on Wednesday, Coates said he is voting for Senator Sanders anyway. After his appearance was picked up by news outlets, from CNN, MSNBC and BBC to The New York Times, Ta-Nehisi Coates published a follow-up for The Atlantic titled "Against Endorsements," writing that his "answer has been characterized, in various places, as an 'endorsement,' a characterization that I’d object to. Despite my very obvious political biases, I’ve never felt it was really my job to get people to agree with me." In Part 2 of our conversation with Coates, whose book "Between the World and Me" won the National Book Award, Coates elaborates on who he would like to see elected, and much more. "If I could have anything—you know, and this is across the board for any presidential candidate—I would have a greater acknowledgment of history in our policy and in our affairs," Coates says. He also discusses the Black Lives Matter movement, Bill Cosby and the growing number of actors and filmmakers pushing for a boycott of the Oscars after no actors of color were nominated for a second year in a row.

Who Endorsed Hillary Clinton? The Congressional Black Caucus or Its PAC Filled with Lobbyists?

Democracy Now - Fri 07 31 AM

This week’s endorsement of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president by the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee prompted some confusion due to a lack of familiarity with the PAC. We look at the many lobbyists who comprise its board, including those who work for Purdue Pharma, the makers of highly addictive opioid OxyContin, and others who represent Philip Morris and Wal-Mart, the largest gun distributor in America. We also speak with the CBC PAC’s chair, Rep. Gregory Meeks, who notes the PAC "also includes the labor groups, labor organizations," and argues, "We in the Congressional Black Caucus have to raise money so we can elect folks. But if you look at how the Congressional Black Caucus votes, no one can say that they don’t vote in a very progressive way." Our guest Jeffrey Sachs, a leading economist, notes it is important to understand "what this endorsement meant" and adds, "Our politics has been corrupted by the money. That’s why our policies are so bizarre."

Sanders Slams Clinton's Admiration for "Destructive" Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

Democracy Now - Fri 07 25 AM

During Thursday’s Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders picked up on a point that Hillary Clinton made during last week’s face-off in New Hampshire about her admiration for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "She talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger," Sanders said. "Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. … I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger." Clinton responded that Sanders has failed to answer questions about whom he would have advise him on foreign policy. Sanders told her, "Well, it ain’t Henry Kissinger. That’s for sure." We get reaction from economist Jeffrey Sachs, whose recent article is headlined "Hillary is the Candidate of the War Machine," and from Congressmember Gregory Meeks, Democrat of New York and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee, which has endorsed Hillary Clinton.

War on Wall Street or Wall Street's Wars? Clinton and Sanders Debate in Wisconsin

Democracy Now - Fri 07 13 AM

Democratic presidential candidates Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced off Thursday night in the first Democratic debate since Sanders’ decisive victory over Clinton in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and drew sharp distinctions between each other on everything from foreign policy to how they plan to pay for the programs they’ve proposed, to campaign finance reform. Our two guests respond. Reacting to Clinton’s claim she helped negotiate a ceasefire in Syria, Jeffrey Sachs argues, "She has backed a CIA-led attempt at regime change that has led to a bloodbath there." Sachs is a leading economist and the director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, whose recent article for The Huffington Post is headlined "Hillary is the Candidate of the War Machine." He adds that, domestically, Clinton "is basically saying the status quo is just fine." But New York Congressmember Gregory Meeks, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee, which has just endorsed Hillary Clinton, says Sanders has promised change that he will be unable to deliver. "If you’re running on just a dream, and not how you can do something in reality, then I think that is misleading the American people," Meeks says.

Justice Dept. Sues Ferguson, Missouri, to Force Police Reforms

Democracy Now - Thu 07 53 AM

The Department of Justice said Wednesday that it would sue the city of Ferguson, Missouri, to force the city to adopt police reforms negotiated with the federal government. This comes a day after the Ferguson City Council voted to change a proposed consent decree to reform the police and courts. The agreement was negotiated between city officials and the Department of Justice. Ferguson city officials said it would cost too much to implement. A Justice Department probe following the August 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown found police and courts in Ferguson routinely engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination against African Americans. We speak to Jeffrey Mittman, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri.

Could Unelected Superdelegates Give Clinton the Nomination Even If Sanders Wins the Primaries?

Democracy Now - Thu 07 37 AM

With Bernie Sanders’ double-digit victory over Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and near tie with her in last week’s Iowa caucuses, it would seem that the race for the Democratic nomination would be neck and neck. But that is not the case. In New Hampshire, Sanders trounced Clinton 60 to 38 percent—but they split the delegates evenly thanks to unelected superdelegates siding with the former secretary of state. Overall, Clinton sits far ahead of Sanders when you factor in these superdelegates—the congressmen, senators, governors and other elected officials who often represent the Democratic Party elite. We speak to Duke professor David Rohde and Matt Karp, assistant professor of history at Princeton University and contributing editor at JacobinMag.com.

As Congressional Black Caucus PAC Prepares to Back Clinton, Barbara Lee Withholds Endorsement

Democracy Now - Thu 07 22 AM

After the New Hampshire vote, the focus of the Democratic race has largely become South Carolina. Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are making concerted efforts to win the state’s African-American vote. The Congressional Black Caucus PAC is expected to endorse Clinton today. Meanwhile, on Wednesday Sanders met with the Rev. Al Sharpton in Harlem and received an unexpected boost when acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates announced on Democracy Now! that he would vote for the Vermont senator. We talk to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) about why she has not yet endorsed either candidate. She also points out today’s Clinton endorsement is coming from the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee, not the Congressional Black Caucus.

Barbara Lee: Post-9/11 Vote Should Not Be Used as Blank Check to Keep Waging Perpetual War

Democracy Now - Thu 07 12 AM

A year ago today, President Obama sought congressional approval to attack the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The request came six months after the U.S. began bombing Iraq and Syria. The resolution imposed a three-year limit on U.S. operations but did not put any geographic constraints. It also opened the door for ground combat operations in limited circumstances. However, Congress has yet to hold the constitutionally mandated debate and vote on the war against ISIL. Instead, the strikes have been carried out using an outdated authorization passed by Congress in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Now, over 20 members of Congress have sent a bipartisan letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan calling for a debate and vote on the multibillion-dollar war raging in the Middle East. We speak to one of the signatories, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). She’s the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Peace and Security Task Force and the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Ta-Nehisi Coates Is Voting for Bernie Sanders Despite the Senator's Opposition to Reparations

Democracy Now - Wed 07 40 AM

The acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of "Between the World and Me," has written some of the most discussed articles on the presidential race looking at Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and his position on reparations. Coates wrote the articles after Sanders appeared at the Black and Brown Forum in Iowa and said he did not support reparations for slavery because it is too "divisive" an issue. While his critique of Sanders generated headlines, today Coates talks on Democracy Now! about why he still plans to vote for the Vermont senator.

After Running Xenophobic & Racist Campaign, Donald Trump Wins Easily in New Hampshire

Democracy Now - Wed 07 33 AM

In the Republican race, Donald Trump soared to a commanding victory in the New Hampshire primaries Tuesday, winning 35 percent of the vote. Ohio Governor John Kasich placed a surprising second with 15 percent, followed by Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie.

"An Earthshaking Moment": Sanders Win Reveals Deep Divide Between Voters & Democratic Party Leaders

Democracy Now - Wed 07 20 AM

For response to Tuesday’s primary, we go to Manchester, New Hampshire, to speak with Arnie Arnesen, longtime radio and TV host in New Hampshire. She was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1992. Arnesen has known both Sanders and Clinton for about 25 years.

Bernie Sanders on NH Victory: "Tonight We Served Notice to the Political and Economic Establishment"

Democracy Now - Wed 07 13 AM

In the Democratic New Hampshire primary, Senator Bernie Sanders beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a margin of 60 to 38 percent. Eight years ago, Clinton won New Hampshire, defeating Senator Barack Obama. When polling first began in New Hampshire over a year ago, Clinton was projected to win by as much as 50 percent, but Sanders has steadily chipped away at her support. On Tuesday, Sanders beat Clinton in nearly every demographic area except for senior citizens and families earning over $200,000. According to exit polls, 55 percent of women—including 70 percent of women under 30—backed the Vermont senator. Overall, Sanders won 83 percent of the under-30 vote. By winning New Hampshire, Sanders becomes the first Jewish candidate to ever win a major presidential primary.

"This Man Will Almost Certainly Die": The Secret Deaths of Dozens at Privatized Immigrant-Only Jails

Democracy Now - Tue 07 48 AM

A shocking new investigation about private prisons has revealed dozens of men have died in disturbing circumstances inside these facilities in recent years. The investigation published in The Nation magazine documents more than 100 deaths at private, immigrant-only prisons since 1998. The investigation’s author, Seth Freed Wessler, spent more than two years fighting in and out of court to obtain more than 9,000 pages of medical records that private prison contractors had submitted to the Bureau of Prisons. We speak to Wessler about his piece, "This Man Will Almost Certainly Die."

We Endorse No One: Black Lives Matter & the 2016 Presidential Race

Democracy Now - Tue 07 38 AM

Earlier in the presidential campaign, Black Lives Matter activists made headlines disrupting campaign events by Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and others, demanding candidates focus on criminal justice issues. Now the group has opted not to endorse any candidate in the presidential race. We speak to journalist Darnell Moore, a member of the New York City chapter of Black Lives Matter.

Bernie Hasn't Changed His Tune: Ex-Vermont Gov. Says Sanders' Message Resonates, But Isn't Realistic

Democracy Now - Tue 07 31 AM

In 1986, Bernie Sanders, then mayor of Burlington, challenged sitting Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin. Sanders largely ran on a platform to tackle economic inequality. We speak to Kunin about the consistency of Sanders’ message and why she and the political establishment have opted to back Hillary Clinton this year.

Hillary Clinton & the "Mass Incarceration Machine": A Debate on Her Support of 1994 Crime Bill

Democracy Now - Tue 07 18 AM

Scholar Michelle Alexander made headlines last week when she wrote a critical post about Hillary Clinton’s record on criminal justice issues. "I can’t believe Hillary would be coasting into the primaries with her current margin of black support if most people knew how much damage the Clintons have done—the millions of families [that were] destroyed the last time they were in the White House thanks to their boastful embrace of the mass incarceration machine and their total capitulation to the right-wing narrative on race, crime, welfare and taxes." We look back at Clinton’s record with three guests: Darnell Moore, a member of the New York City chapter of Black Lives Matter; former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin; and former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous.

Ex-NAACP Head Ben Jealous: Sanders is Most Consistent Candidate Tackling Racism, Militarism & Greed

Democracy Now - Tue 07 16 AM

Likening him to Jesse Jackson in the 1980s, former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous praises Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for consistently addressing the issues that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as the "giant triplets of evil"—racism, militarism and greed. We speak to Jealous in North Carolina. He was just in South Carolina campaigning for Sanders ahead of that state’s primary.