Pope Francis has kicked off his historic U.S. tour. During his six-day trip, Francis is expected to share his message of compassion and simplicity with the world’s richest and most powerful country. On Tuesday, both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden honored the 78-year-old pope by personally greeting him on the tarmac after his plane landed at Joint Base Andrews near the capital. This is the first time the Argentina native has ever stepped foot on U.S. soil. Hordes of devotees have flocked to Washington, D.C., in hopes of catching a glimpse of the pontiff during his stay. Today, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics will hold a formal meeting with President Obama for about 45 minutes alone in the Oval Office. On Thursday, Francis will make history, becoming the first pope to address a joint session of Congress. And on Friday, he will address the United Nations General Assembly in New York City before departing for Philadelphia on Saturday to deliver an open-air mass where 1.5 million people are expected to attend. The pope’s visit to the U.S. comes after a trip to Cuba, which he wrapped up by calling for a "revolution of tenderness."
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Noam Chomsky weighed in on U.S. presidential politics in a speech Saturday at The New School in New York. In addressing a question about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Chomsky assessed the political landscape: "Today’s Democrats are what used to be called moderate Republicans. The Republicans have just drifted off the spectrum. They’re so committed to extreme wealth and power that they cannot get votes ... So what has happened is that they’ve mobilized sectors of the population that have been around for a long time. ... Trump may be comic relief, but it’s not that different from the mainstream, which I think is more important."
In a speech Saturday at The New School in New York, Noam Chomsky explained why he believes the U.S. poses the greatest threat to world peace. "[The United States] is a rogue state, indifferent to international law and conventions, entitled to resort to violence at will. … Take, for example, the Clinton Doctrine—namely, the United States is free to resort to unilateral use of military power, even for such purposes as to ensure uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources—let alone security or alleged humanitarian concerns. And adherence to this doctrine is very well confirmed and practiced, as need hardly be discussed among people willing to look at the facts of current history." Chomsky also explained why he believes the U.S. and its closest allies, namely Saudi Arabia and Israel, are undermining prospects for peace in the Middle East. "When we say the international community opposes Iran’s policies or the international community does some other thing, that means the United States and anybody else who happens to be going along with it."
In a Democracy Now! special, we spend the hour with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than half a century. Chomsky has written more than 100 books, including his latest, "Because We Say So," a collection of his monthly columns. On Saturday, Chomsky spoke before a sold-out audience of nearly 1,000 people at The New School’s John L. Tishman Auditorium in New York City. In a speech titled “On Power and Ideology,” he discussed the persistence of U.S. exceptionalism, Republican efforts to torpedo the Iran nuclear deal, and the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations.
- Pope Francis Arrives in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Tour
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In the new book, "Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide," MSNBC national correspondent Joy-Ann Reid looks at the history of race relations in the U.S. while tracing the political shifts in the Democratic Party through the relationship between the Clintons and Obama. "The fundamental question that the Democratic Party has faced over the last 50 years is what to do with Johnson’s legacy, whether to run away from it, which the party by and large did, really spearheaded by Bill Clinton, who really shifted the party to the right, as a corrective to what I think a lot of party leaders saw as the electoral consequences of embracing so much social change,” Reid said. Reid was the host of MSNBC’s "The Reid Report" and a press aide in the final stretch of Barack Obama’s Florida campaign in 2008.
Ahead of his first U.S. visit, Pope Francis celebrated mass in Cuba Sunday before hundreds of thousands of worshipers in Havana’s Revolution Square. Born in Argentina, Francis is the first Latin American pope. He is widely praised in Cuba for helping to broker secret talks with Washington that resulted in the further normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations, and praised the detente between the two countries as "an example of reconciliation for the entire world." The pope’s homily in Havana included no direct political message besides urging the successful conclusion of Colombia peace talks that have been taking place in Cuba for nearly three years. On Tuesday, Pope Francis arrives in Washington, where he will address Congress and meet with President Obama. We speak about Pope Francis’ Cuba-U.S. trip with Carlos Alzugaray Treto, a former Cuban diplomat and former Havana University professor; and Andrea Bartoli, dean of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University and member of the Community of Sant’Egidio, a liberal Catholic group active in international affairs.
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Following the mounting criticism over Donald Trump’s statements during and after a town hall meeting in New Hampshire Thursday, at which he did not contradict a question by one of his supporters about when the United States could "get rid of" Muslims, we speak with Ralph Nader about Donald Trump and xenophobia. "What if the man had said that about Jews instead of Muslims? About Christians instead of Muslims?" Ralph Nader asked.
Under the terms of the Justice Department’s $900 million settlement, no GM executives will be prosecuted for covering up the faulty ignition switch linked to at least 124 deaths. The deal is the latest in a string of deferred prosecution agreements between the Obama administration and corporations accused of criminal activity. We speak to longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader, "Why Not Jail?" author Rena Steinzor and Laura Christian, the mother of a GM crash victim.
Federal prosecutors have agreed to settle a criminal probe into General Motors for concealing an ignition switch defect linked to at least 124 deaths. Under the deal, General Motors agreed to pay $900 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, but no GM executives will be prosecuted for covering up the deadly defect. The Justice Department’s deal with GM has been widely criticized by consumer advocates and families who lost loved ones. Clarence Ditlow, head of the Center for Auto Safety, said, "GM killed over 100 people by knowingly putting a defective ignition switch into over 1 million vehicles. … Today, thanks to its lobbyists, GM officials walk off scot-free while its customers are six feet under." We speak to Laura Christian. Her daughter Amber Rose died after her Chevrolet Cobalt crashed and the air bag failed to deploy on July 29, 2005. Amber was just 16 years old. Since then, Laura Christian has become an auto-safety advocate. She runs the Facebook page "GM Recall Survivors.”
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A coalition of more than 400 organizations have called on the White House to stop issuing new fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans. More than 67 million acres of public land and ocean are already leased to the fossil fuel industry. The coalition says that declaring unleased oil, gas and coal on public lands as "unburnable" would accomplish more in the global fight against climate change than any other single action taken by the Obama administration. Joining us to discuss the new campaign is climate justice activist Tim DeChristopher. In 2008, DeChristopher spent 21 months in federal prison after he disrupted an oil and gas leasing auction on public land in Utah by posing as a bidder. Tim DeChristopher is now one of the co-founders of the new Climate Disobedience Center, which is among the many organizations calling for the end to all new fossil fuel leases on public lands.
We now turn to the Republican candidates’ views on Planned Parenthood, which was mentioned 23 times during the three-hour debate. Defunding Planned Parenthood has become a cornerstone of the Republican Party platform during the campaign thus far. On Wednesday night, Governor John Kasich, Senator Ted Cruz and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina all said they would move to defund the organization. Fiorina even linked her opposition to the Iran nuclear deal with her opposition to Planned Parenthood, saying, "One has to do with the defense and security the nation, and the other has to do with the defense of the character of this nation." For more, we’re joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston and political writer John Nichols.
While some candidates touted their past political experience, real estate developer Donald Trump and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina faced off over their business experience. Each accused the other of poorly managing their companies, with Trump accusing Fiorina of being one of the worst CEOs, while Fiorina took aim at Trump for his companies’ records of filing for bankruptcy. To dissect the two candidates’ business records, we turn to Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston, who has been covering Donald Trump for decades.
While the Republican candidates appeared unanimous during the second debate on their stances on issues like Planned Parenthood, they fiercely disagreed on the issue of marijuana legalization and the so-called war on drugs. At the center of this debate were Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Paul accused Bush of hypocrisy in his position on marijuana legalization, saying: "If you’re are against letting people use medical marijuana, we’re left to put them in jail. Kids who had privilege, like you do, don’t go to jail, but the poor kids in our inner cities go to jail." Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina also jumped into the back-and-forth to share her own family’s story of losing a step-daughter to drug addition. For more, we’re joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston and political writer John Nichols.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina joined the prime-time Republican debate lineup for the first time in this campaign season, after surging in the polls in recent weeks. She emerged as a fierce hawk on foreign policy issues, calling for sending more arms to the Middle East and warning that one of the first calls she would make as president would be to demand Iran open up its nuclear facilities to U.S. inspectors at any time. In contrast, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul decried U.S. interventionist policies abroad, saying, "We have to learn sometimes the interventions backfire. The Iraq War backfired and did not help us." Real estate mogul Donald Trump and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush also sparred over the legacy of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy decisions. For more on the candidates’ foreign policy positions, we’re joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston and political writer John Nichols.
An Oklahoma appeals court granted death row prisoner Richard Glossip a last-minute stay of execution on Wednesday only hours before he was slated to die. The decision was a response to an emergency request filed by his lawyers Tuesday afternoon. The decision came down at 11:30 a.m. — only three-and-a-half hours before his scheduled execution by lethal injection. Glossip’s new execution date is September 30. We speak to Don Knight, one of the pro bono attorneys representing death row inmate Richard Glossip. Also with us is Sister Helen Prejean, one of the world’s most well-known anti-death-penalty activists. As a Catholic nun, she began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book, "Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty."
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