In his new book, "The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World," acclaimed historian Greg Grandin examines how the transnational slave trade transformed the world, causing mass economic, social and political upheaval in ways that continue to reverberate today. Grandin tells the true story of a slave insurrection aboard a ship named the Tryal in 1805, in which West African men and women rose up and seized the vessel. The uprising inspired Herman Melville to write his novella "Benito Cereno" that drew on the memoirs of Captain Delano, a distant relative of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Today, Grandin has used the dramatic incident to show how slavery was the "flywheel" that drove the global development of everything from trade and insurance to technology, religion and medicine for nearly four centuries. A professor of Latin American history at New York University, Grandin’s last book, "Fordlandia," was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history.
Obamacare is a job killer — that was the message across the media this week after the release of a new Congressional Budget Office report about the Affordable Care Act. But what does the CBO report really say? We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik, who says detractors have misinterpreted a report that actually brought good news. That is not to say Obamacare does not have its drawbacks, which Hiltzik argues could be cured by a single-payer healthcare system.
- U.N. Says Syria Can Meet Chemical Weapons Deadline Despite Falling Behind
- Report: Children Endure "Unspeakable Suffering" in Syria Conflict
- 23 Killed in Baghdad Bombings
- Israel OKs New Settlements, Demolishes Palestinian Homes
- U.N. Chides Catholic Church on Child Sexual Abuse
- El Salvador Orders Probe of 1981 Massacre
- Doctors Still Advising Some Residents to Avoid West Virginia Water; 2 Schools Closed
- Report: 2009 TransCanada Natural Gas Pipeline Rupture Kept from Public View
- U.S. Drugstore Chain to Stop Tobacco Sales
- LGBT Activists Stage Global Protests Against Russian Crackdown
- Pussy Riot Members Honored at Brooklyn Concert
Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent more than $50 billion on the Winter Games in Sochi, making this the most expensive Olympics in history. In the lead-up to the games, Russia has faced worldwide criticism and calls for boycotts, especially after it passed a law in June banning the spread of so-called "gay propaganda" to children. With the games just two days away, we host a roundtable with four guests: Dave Zirin, sports columnist for The Nation magazine and author of "Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down"; Samantha Retrosi, a luge athlete who competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics; historian and former U.S. Olympic soccer player, Jules Boykoff, who is author of "Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games"; and Helen Lenskyj, author of several books on the Olympics, including "Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry" and the forthcoming book, "Sexual Diversity and the Sochi 2014 Olympics: No More Rainbows."
With the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, just two days away, we look at a side of the games that you won’t see in the wall-to-wall media coverage. Former Olympic athlete Samantha Retrosi joins us to discuss her recent Nation article, "Why the Olympics are a Lot Like 'The Hunger Games.'" A luge competitor in the 2006 Winter Games in Italy, Retrosi says a lack of government support and sufficient safety protections forces athletes into relying on corporate sponsors and putting themselves in harm’s way. "This is like an 'Olympic Snowden,'" says political sportswriter Dave Zirin, who also joins us in studio. "This is a legitimate whistleblowing moment. People who are part of the Olympic program don’t say what Samantha just said."
- Senate OKs Farm Bill with $8.7 Billion in Food Stamp Cuts
- North Carolina: Up to 82,000 Tons of Coal Ash, 27 Million Gallons of Polluted Water Leaks into River
- Study: Americans To Work Fewer Hours Under Obamacare
- Morgan Stanley to Pay $1.25 Billion for Toxic Securities
- Report: U.S. Limits Pakistan Drone Strikes; Taliban Talks Delayed
- British Spies Hacked Sites of Anonymous, LulzSec
- Lithuania Orders Probe of CIA Torture
- D.C. Council Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana
- Rally Held to Urge Settlement in Central Park Five Case
- New York Measure Would Pull Funding for Academic Boycott of Israel
- U.S. Abortion Rate Hits 40-Year Low
Today a special on "kids for cash," the shocking story of how thousands of children in Pennsylvania were jailed by two corrupt judges who received $2.6 million in kickbacks from the builders and owners of private prison facilities. We hear from two of the youth: Charlie Balasavage was sent to juvenile detention after his parents unknowingly bought him a stolen scooter; Hillary Transue was detained for creating a MySpace page mocking her assistant high school principal. They were both 14 years old and were sentenced by the same judge, Judge Mark Ciavarella, who is now in jail himself — serving a 28-year sentence. Balasavage and Transue are featured in the new documentary, "Kids for Cash," by filmmaker Robert May, who also joins us. In addition, we speak to two mothers: Sandy Fonzo, whose son Ed Kenzakoski committed suicide after being imprisoned for years by Judge Ciavarella, and Hillary’s mother, Laurene Transue. Putting their stories into context of the larger scandal is attorney Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Juvenile Law Center. The story is still developing: In October, the private juvenile-detention companies in the scandal settled a civil lawsuit for $2.5 million.
- Rallies Held Nationwide to Protest Keystone XL Oil Pipeline After State Dept. Report
- Report: Cancer-Causing Pollutants from Alberta's Oil Sands Vastly Underestimated
- Congress Urged to Raise Debt Ceiling or Risk Default
- U.S. Internet Firms Release Data on Secret NSA Requests
- Germany: Hacker Group Accuses Merkel Gov't of Illegally Aiding U.S. Spying
- Al-Qaeda Renounces Ties with Powerful Militant Group in Syria
- Report: Afghan President Karzai in Secret Contact with Taliban on Peace Deal
- Idaho: More Than 40 LGBT Activists Arrested Demanding Ban on Discrimination
A movement is growing worldwide to stop violence against women and girls. One Billion Rising for Justice will take place on February 14, Valentine’s Day, in more than 200 countries worldwide, focusing on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence and the impunity that protects perpetrators all over the world. The One Billion Rising and V-Day campaigns were launched by playwright Eve Ensler, creator of "The Vagina Monologues," and highlights the startling statistic that one in every three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. We speak to Eve Ensler and Kimberlé Crenshaw, co-founder of the African American Policy Forum. "Women are putting their bodies at the site where vulnerabilities intersect," Crenshaw says. "By that I mean where vulnerability to gender violence, vulnerability to economic exploitation, vulnerability to the drug war — all these things come together to create unique risks, many times risks that poor women, marginalized women, women of color face."
Three environmentalists have just been convicted for their role in nonviolently protesting the construction of tar sands pipelines in Michigan. Last summer, they tied themselves to excavators at an Enbridge Inc. construction site to stall work on a pipeline that had ruptured in 2010 and dumped about 800,000 gallons of crude oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. On Friday, the protesters — Barbara Carter, Vicci Hamlin and Lisa Leggio — were found guilty of misdemeanor trespassing, as well as resisting and obstructing police, which carries a maximum two-year felony. We are joined from Grand Rapids, Michigan, by Christopher Wahmhoff of the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands. In June, Wahmhoff protested the Enbridge pipeline by skateboarding deep inside the pipe and refusing to come out.
In one of the latest revelations based on the leaks of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency spied on foreign governments before and during the 2009 U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen. An internal NSA document says its analysts and foreign partners briefed U.S. negotiators on other countries’ "preparations and goals," saying, "signals intelligence will undoubtedly play a significant role in keeping our negotiators as well informed as possible throughout the two-week event." We speak to Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth.
Debate: State Dept Moves Keystone XL Closer to Approval, But Does Conflict of Interest Taint Report?
A long-awaited report from the State Department has dealt a potential major blow to efforts to stop the Keystone XL oil pipeline. An impact assessment released Friday says the pipeline’s northern leg would not have a major impact on climate change. In a speech last year, President Obama said his approval of the project will be contingent upon assuring it "does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution." The proposed pipeline would transport 83,000 barrels of crude every day from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, which opponents say will have a devastating impact on the planet. The White House says it has yet to make a decision and will await additional feedback from federal agencies. Should the Obama administration approve the Keystone XL pipeline? We host a debate between Erich Pica of Friends of the Earth and Cindy Schild of the American Petroleum Institute.
- Environmentalists Urge Protests After State Dept. Says Keystone XL Would Have Minimal Impact
- Obama Issues Protections for Long-Term Jobless
- Syrian Peace Talks Face 1-Week Pause
- Activists: 150 Killed in Aleppo Bombings
- Ex-Rebel Leads 1st Round of El Salvador Presidential Vote
- Al Jazeera Cameraman Acquitted in Egypt
- Ex-New Jersey Official Says Christie Knew of Bridge Closures
- California Drought Threatens Water in Rural Areas
- Undocumented Attorney Sworn In to California Bar
- Obama Urged to Use Executive Powers to Reclassify Marijuana
- Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Dies of Apparent Overdose
Wallace Shawn on Artistic Solidarity: As Glenn Greenwald Can't Return to U.S., I Took My Play to Him
The renowned playwright and actor Wallace "Wally" Shawn has just returned from Brazil, where he gave a special performance of his play, "The Designated Mourner," to journalist Glenn Greenwald, who first broke the story about National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The play was staged at the Public Theater in New York City last year, but Greenwald could not attend because of fears that he would be prosecuted upon returning to the United States. Just this week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper suggested journalists could be considered accomplices of Snowden. Through three characters, Shawn’s play reveals the claustrophobia of a shrinking political landscape in a formerly liberal land. Shawn has written numerous plays in addition to "The Designated Mourner," including "The Fever," "Aunt Dan and Lemon" and "Grasses of a Thousand Colors.” Shawn has also had celebrated acting roles in several films, including "The Princess Bride," "Toy Story" and the 1981 cult classic, "My Dinner with Andre," which he also co-wrote.
New York City’s newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced the city will drop its appeal of a ruling by a U.S. district court that found the New York City Police Department’s controversial "stop-and-frisk" program unconstitutional and settle an ongoing lawsuit. In August, Judge Shira Scheindlin criticized the police for relying on a "policy of indirect racial profiling" that led officers to routinely stop "blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white." De Blasio announced the news on Thursday at a press conference with allies, including the Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union. "We’re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city," de Blasio said. "We believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men." We air clips from de Blasio, new NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and stop-and-frisk victim Nicholas Peart. We are joined by Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and counsel on their lawsuit against New York City.
- U.S. Accuses Syria of Stalling on Chemical Weapons Deal
- Report: Syrian Authorities Razed Neighborhoods to Punish Civilians
- Thai Protesters Blockade Buildings Housing Ballot Papers Ahead of Election
- Iraq: More Than 900 Killed in January
- Report: Road Project That Symbolized U.S. Success in Afghanistan Is Falling Apart
- Navy Expert on Cyberweapons Tapped to Lead NSA
- State Dept. Report Said to Favor Keystone XL Oil Pipeline
- Shell Drops Plans to Drill in the Arctic This Year
- Latin American, Caribbean Leaders Declare "Peace Zone" in the Region
- U.S. to Seek Death Penalty for Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect
- California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman to Leave Congress After 4 Decades
- NYC Mayor de Blasio Drops Appeal of Stop-and-Frisk Ruling
- Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg Tapped for U.N. Post
- Protesters Demand Justice for Slain Transgender Woman Islan Nettles
- Wage Hike for Federal Contractors to Exclude Disabled Workers
- Report: Top GOP Advisers Helped Redskins Football Team with Bid to Keep Name
- "NATO 3" Trial Continues amid Claims of Police Entrapment
- West Virginia Official: Citizens Breathing Formaldehyde Due to Chemical Spill
- Scarlett Johansson Leaves Oxfam Post After SodaStream Dispute
- Migrating Monarch Butterfly Population in Mexico Drops to Record Low
Ukrainian anti-government protesters have rejected an amnesty bill aimed at ending the country’s political unrest, refusing to vacate occupied government buildings and dismantle their street blockades in exchange for the release of jailed activists. The demonstrations in the Ukraine are collectively referred to as "Euromaidan." They began in late November after President Viktor Yanukovych reversed his decision to sign a long-awaited trade deal with the European Union to forge stronger ties with Russia instead. While the Ukrainian opposition has been hailed in the West as a democratic, grassroots movement, we host a debate on whether the rush to back opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin obscures a more complex reality beneath the surface. We are joined by two guests: Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University; and Anton Shekhovtsov, a Ukrainian citizen and University College London researcher who has just returned from observing the protests in Kiev.
Sharif Abdel Kouddous: 3 Years After Revolution, Egypt Faces Deadly Polarization & Growing Militancy
More than 60 people were killed in Egypt this weekend in clashes surrounding the third anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak. Thousands of people turned out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution. But fighting broke out between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and state forces, as well as backers of the military government that ousted the Brotherhood from power last year. Some 1,000 people were detained. In a sign of growing activity by militants, an Egyptian army helicopter was shot down in the Sinai desert, killing all five soldiers on board. We go to Cairo to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous. He notes there has been an estimated 21,000 people arrested since Morsi’s ouster.
From Al Jazeera on Trial to Bloggers Behind Bars, Army-Run Egypt Sees Growing "Silencing of Dissent"
The Egyptian military government has announced 20 Al Jazeera journalists will face trial for conspiring with a terrorist group and broadcasting false images. The military has accused Al Jazeera of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been protesting against the government since the army toppled President Mohamed Morsi in July. "This comes amidst a widening assault on journalists in the streets," says Democracy Now!’s Sharif Abdel Kouddous from Cairo. "On the anniversary of the revolution on the 25th of January, we saw over a dozen journalists attacked in Tahrir Square. Journalists are frequently accused when they are assaulted of belonging to Al Jazeera. And this is a direct result of a demonization campaign of Al Jazeera that has gone on for months now in the state and private media channels.”
- House OKs Farm Bill with $8.6 Billion in Food Stamp Cuts
- Study: Fair Minimum Wage Double Obama-Backed $10.10
- Clapper Calls on Snowden & "Accomplices" to Return Stolen Docs
- Snowden Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- Leak: NSA Spied on Foreign Governments Around 2009 Climate Summit
- Holder: Bulk Collection Constitutional, But Will Be Reformed
- Terror Suspect Challenges Evidence Collected by NSA
- U.N. Envoy: "Ice Is Breaking Slowly" in Syria Peace Talks
- European Union to Expand Cuba Ties
- CIA Paid Polish Intel $15 Million for Secret Prison
- Marine Faces Retrial for 2006 Haditha Killing
- Missouri Executes Death Row Prisoner After Brief Stay
- New York Congressmember Apologizes After Threatening Reporter on Camera