Just over six months ago, President Obama gave a major address unveiling new guidelines to limit drone strikes abroad, vowing to narrow the scope of the U.S. targeted killing campaign. But a new analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has raised questions about how much Obama’s new rules have actually constrained the drone program. The Bureau found that while the total number of strikes has slightly decreased, more people were killed in Yemen and Pakistan by covert drone strikes in the past six months than in the six months preceding Obama’s address. We speak with independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, whose documentary film, "Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield," directed by Richard Rowley, was one of 15 feature documentaries shortlisted this week for an Oscar.
As fast-food workers stage a one-day strike, a new report exposes how the industry’s CEOs have not just saved money by paying workers low wages, but have used the government to subsidize their own million-dollar salaries with taxpayer dollars. That is because a loophole in the tax code lets companies deduct the costs of performance-based executive pay. We are joined by Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of the new report, "Fast Food CEOs Rake In Taxpayer-Subsidized Pay."
Fast-food workers are walking off the job in about 100 cities today in what organizers call their largest action to date. Today’s strikes and protests continue a campaign that began last year to call for a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Early this morning, Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman and Hany Massoud headed to Times Square in New York City where a group of McDonald's workers were joined by a crowd of hundreds of supporters to kick off their strike. We hear voices from the protest and speak to Camille Rivera of United NY, part of the newly formed New Day New York Coalition, which has organized this week of action to fight income inequality and build economic fairness.
- NSA Collecting Location Data on Cellphones Worldwide
- Fast-Food Workers Strike Nationwide for Higher Pay
- Obama Calls for Action on "Growing Inequality"
- Studies: Inequality Dividing U.S. Cities, Threatening Families
- Suicide Bomber Hits Yemen Defense Ministry in Sana'a
- U.S., China Differ on Air Defense Zone
- Mexico Recovers Stolen Radioactive Container
- 2 Guantánamo Prisoners Forcibly Repatriated to Algeria Despite Pleas
- Study: 7 in 10 College Students Graduating With Loan Debt
- Detainees Hold Sit-in at Texas Immigration Jail
- Illinois Issues Driver's Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants
- Miami Suburb Sued for Police Abuses, Racial Profiling
- ALEC Plots Extensive Campaign Against Environmental Regulation, Clean Energy
- ALEC Faces Funding Shortfall After "Stand Your Ground" Prompts Member Flight
- Connecticut Releases Newtown 911 Calls
- Sen. Warren Rules Out 2016 Presidential Run
At the recent International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative Summit, Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva discuss their decades of work devoted to protecting nature and saving future generations from the dangers of climate change. A renowned primatologist, Goodall is best known for her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees and baboons. An environmental leader, feminist and thinker, Shiva is the author of many books, including "Making Peace with the Earth: Beyond Resource, Land and Food Wars" and "Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace."
A federal judge has approved Detroit’s bid to qualify for bankruptcy, putting the city on a path to financial recovery — but threatening the livelihoods of thousands of city workers. In a landmark decision that could harm retiree benefits nationwide, Federal Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that federal bankruptcy law can override state laws that protect public pensions. That clears the way for Detroit to make major cuts to the health and retirement benefits of city employees. The city faces about $18 billion in debt, of which $3.5 billion is pension obligations. Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, has told public unions to brace for "significant cuts," but has not laid out details. Workers’ pensions in Detroit average around $19,000 per year. By the new year, Orr will present a "plan of adjustment" in bankruptcy court that will clarify how much pensions will be cut. The plan may also include a "fire sale" of city assets that could result in public utilities and the Detroit Institute of Arts collection being bartered off to private bidders. Detroit’s bankruptcy filing marks a grim milestone in the decline of what was once the country’s fourth-largest city, known as the Motor City, the birthplace of the middle class. We are joined by Wallace Turbeville, senior fellow at Demos and former Goldman Sachs executive who has just authored the new report, "The Detroit Bankruptcy." Turbeville argues that Detroit’s problems stem not from its liabilities but from a decline in public revenues and involvement in harmful Wall Street schemes.
- EU Fines 6 Banks $2.3 Billion for Global Rate Fixing
- Clearing Detroit Bankruptcy, Judge OKs Cuts to Retiree Pensions
- Illinois Legislature Approves Pension Cuts
- Obama Touts Improvements to Healthcare Site
- U.S. Halts Pakistan Shipments over Anti-Drone Protests
- U.N.: 250,000 Cut Off from Aid in Syria
- Hezbollah Blames Israel for Killing of Commander in Beirut
- U.K. Police Official Says Guardian Could Face Prosecution for Snowden Leaks
- European Rights Court Weighs CIA Torture in Poland Secret Prison
- French Study: Arafat Wasn't Poisoned
- House Votes to Extend Ban on Plastic Guns
At the premier of the new animated film, "Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?" in New York City, Noam Chomsky joined filmmaker Michel Gondry in conversation. We play excerpts of Chomsky’s remarks on his educational background and his reflections on "Manufacturing Consent," another feature-length film about him from 1992. One of the filmmakers behind the movie, Peter Wintonick, died last month on November 18.
We spend the hour with French filmmaker Michel Gondry, the director of a highly unusual new film, "Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?" It is an animated representation of Gondry’s conversations with the legendary political dissident, linguist, author and MIT professor, Noam Chomsky. The innovative documentary introduces viewers to Chomsky’s theories and ideas through a series of conversations brought to life by Gondry’s vibrant hand-drawn animations. As Chomsky speaks, Gondry’s rapidly moving pencil illustrates his words. The men discuss everything from Chomsky’s pioneering work in childhood language acquisition to his views on education, religion and astrology. Gondry’s past films include the Academy Award-winning "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," the musical documentary "Dave Chappelle’s Block Party" and "The Science of Sleep." He has also directed dozens of music videos by artists including Björk, Kanye West, Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones.
- Thailand: Police Remove Barricades in Bid to Ease Mass Protests
- U.N. Implicates Assad in War Crimes
- Report: Aid Worker Deaths Triple in Afghanistan
- Biden Criticizes China Air Defense Zone During Japan Visit
- Investigators: Train Was Speeding Before Crash in Bronx
- Honduras: Election Tribunal to Review Disputed Presidential Tallies
- Bahrain: Court Denies Early Release for Activist Nabeel Rajab
- Gaza Activists Stage "Reverse Flotilla" Against Israeli Blockade
- White House Claims 375,000 Visits to Health Site Monday Before Noon
- ACLU Sues U.S. Bishops over Catholic Hospital Guidelines
- Same-Sex Weddings Begin in Hawaii
- Canada: Anti-Fracking Protests Held Nationwide on Day of Action
- Protesters in Oregon Delay Departure of Tar Sands "Megaload"
- Ukraine: Mass Protests Continue as Parliament Rejects No-Confidence Motion
- The New Press Founder André Schiffrin Dies at 78
At least 111 people were arrested on Black Friday in a series of protests and acts of civil disobedience targeting Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers. In St. Paul, Minnesota, 26 protesters were arrested when they blocked traffic while demanding better wages for janitors and retail employees. In Illinois, 10 people were issued citations at a protest near a Wal-Mart in Chicago. Video posted online showed nine people being arrested at a protest outside a Wal-Mart store in Alexandria, Virginia. At Wal-Mart protests in California, 15 people were arrested in Roseville, 10 arrested in Ontario, and five arrested in San Leandro. Organizers said actions took place at 1,500 Wal-Mart locations across the country, up from about 400 locations last year. Meanwhile, fast-food workers have announced plans to hold a one-day strike in 100 cities on Thursday as part of a campaign to win a $15-an-hour wage. We discuss the labor protests with Josh Eidelson, staff reporter at Salon.com.
As President Obama continued a recent tradition of granting a presidential pardon to a pair of turkeys just ahead of Thanksgiving, critics pointed out that he has shown less mercy toward human beings deserving of clemency. Despite the administration’s recent talk of reforming the criminal justice system, Obama has granted the fewest pardons of any modern president. During his presidency, Obama has pardoned 10 turkeys, while he has pardoned or commuted the sentences of only 39 people. According to an analysis last year by ProPublica, which studied applications for pardons processed by the Justice Department, Obama has granted clemency to just 2 percent of applicants. Of the 39 pardons Obama has granted, just 11 have been for people convicted of drug crimes. We are joined by Anthony Papa, an artist, writer and noted advocate against the war on drugs, who was himself imprisoned for many years until he was granted executive clemency. Papa is co-founder of the Mothers of the New York Disappeared and is the author of "15 to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom."
With hundreds of thousands of people now on the government’s terrorist watch lists, a closely watched trial begins today in San Francisco. Stanford University Ph.D. student Rahinah Ibrahim is suing the U.S. government after she was barred from flying from Malaysia back to the United States in 2005 to complete her studies at Stanford after her name was placed on the list. The New York Times reports that the federal government’s terrorist watch list, officially called the "Terrorist Screening Database," has grown to at least 700,000 people, and those on the list are often subjected to extra scrutiny, prohibited from flying, and interrogated while attempting to cross borders. The government refuses to divulge who is on the list, how one can get off the list, and what criteria is used to place someone on the list in the first place. Oftentimes, people have no idea their name is in the database until they attempt to board a flight. We speak with Anya Bernstein, associate professor at the SUNY Buffalo Law School and author of the article, "The Hidden Costs of Terrorist Watch Lists."
- 4 Killed, Dozens Wounded in NY Train Crash
- White House Claims Progress in Health Site Fix
- Dozens Arrested in Black Friday Protests; Fast-Food Workers Plan New Strike
- Pakistanis Continue Rallies, Blockade Against Drone War
- Karzai: U.S. Cutting Supplies in Security Pact Row
- Dozens Killed in Iraq Violence; November Toll Tops 600
- Egypt Assembly Approves Draft Charter; Hundreds Protest in Tahrir Square
- Thousands Protest Potential Israeli Expulsion of Bedouin Arabs
- Over 300,000 Rally in Ukraine over EU Ties
- Thousands Rally in Honduras in Recount Call
- Tens of Thousands Protest Peña Nieto in Mexico
- Marissa Alexander Freed on Bond Ahead of Trial
- Republican Tweet Mocked for Racism Claim
- Last Jailed Arctic 30 Member Freed on Bail
Filmmaker Uncovers Her Family's Shocking Slave-Trading History, Urges Americans to Explore Own Roots
As we continue our conversation on slavery, we are joined by a woman who uncovered that her ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. Katrina Browne documented her roots in the film, "Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North," which revealed how her family, based in Rhode Island, was once the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. After the film aired on PBS in 2008, Browne went on to found the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery. We speak to Browne and Craig Steven Wilder, author of the new book, "Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities."
We spend the hour with the author of a new book, 10 years in the making, that examines how many major U.S. universities — Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, Rutgers, Williams and the University of North Carolina, among others — are drenched in the sweat, and sometimes the blood, of Africans brought to the United States as slaves. In "Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities," Massachusetts Institute of Technology American history professor Craig Steven Wilder reveals how the slave economy and higher education grew up together. "When you think about the colonial world, until the American Revolution, there is only one college in the South, William & Mary ... The other eight colleges were all Northern schools, and they’re actually located in key sites, for the most part, of the merchant economy where the slave traders had come to power and rose as the financial and intellectual backers of new culture of the colonies," Wilder says.
His name might not be familiar to many, but his songs are sung by millions around the world. Today, we take a journey through the life and work of Yip Harburg, the Broadway lyricist who wrote such hits as "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" and who put the music into The Wizard of Oz. Born into poverty on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Harburg always included a strong social and political component to his work, fighting racism and poverty. A lifelong socialist, Harburg was blacklisted and hounded throughout much of his life. We speak with Harburg’s son, Ernie Harburg, about the music and politics of his father. Then we take an in-depth look at The Wizard of Oz, and hear a medley of Harburg’s Broadway songs and the politics of the times in which they were created. [includes rush transcript]
The Supreme Court has agreed to take on cases that could decide if corporations can ignore parts of federal law based on the religious beliefs of their owners. The cases center around the controversy over whether for-profit corporations must fully cover birth control in the health insurance they provide for their employees. Two companies — Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood — object to provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring companies to provide contraceptive coverage in employees’ health plans. The firms say they oppose birth control mandates on religious grounds. The case could force a re-hashing of the landmark Citizens United decision, which ruled companies have freedom of expression rights that allow unlimited spending on political campaigns. The court could now decide whether companies also have religious freedom rights. We are joined by Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the Reproductive Freedom Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Pope Slams "Tyranny" of Capitalism and "Idolatry of Money," But Opposes Shift on Women, Abortion
Pope Francis has used his first major written work to attack capitalism as a "new tyranny," while urging global leaders to fight poverty and inequality. In a document published Tuesday, Pope Francis denounced the 'idolatory of money' and "trickle-down" economic policies, as well as consumerism and a financial system which he says rules rather than serves. The Pope urged politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare." However, the Pope rejected change in two other areas: the ordination of women to the priesthood and the church’s view on abortion. We speak to two dissident priests. Matthew Fox is former Catholic priest who was first stopped from teaching Liberation Theology and Creation Spirituality, then expelled from the Dominican Order. Father Ray Bourgeois is a Catholic priest and the founder of the School of Americas Watch.
Two days after he interrupted a speech by President Obama, Ju Hong, an immigrant rights activist from South Korea, joins us to talk about how Obama’s immigration policies have impacted him. As Obama continued his campaign for comprehensive immigration reform with a speech in San Francisco, Hong interrupted him to call for an end to deportations. Obama then turned around to address him directly, and Hong continued talking. Those who placed Hong behind Obama during the speech may not have realized he is one of the most outspoken young immigrant activists in California. He has been arrested previously during immigration protests — most recently over the summer when he opposed the confirmation of former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as president of the University of California system. Hong is a member of ASPIRE — Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights Through Education. "I thought about my family, I thought about my personal struggle as undocumented, and I thought about my friends and my communities who have been deported and who are currently in detention centers," Hong says about why he spoke out. "I felt I was compelled to tell the truth to President Obama that he has the ability stop the deportations for all."