- Peace Activists Admit to Role in FBI Burglary That Exposed COINTELPRO
- Record Cold Temperatures Envelop United States
- U.S. Accelerates Military Shipments to Iraq
- Israel Approves New Settlements After Kerry's Visit
- U.N.: Half of Central African Republic Needs Aid
- Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Marriages in Utah
- Chicago Gun Ban Struck Down by Judge
- Senate Confirms Yellen as 1st Woman to Chair Federal Reserve
- Liz Cheney Abandons Bid for Wyoming Senate Seat
- Texas Hospital Keeps Brain-Dead Woman on Life Support Because She is Pregnant
- Steubenville Rapist Released After Less Than a Year in Juvenile Prison
- Trial Opens for SAC Manager Accused of Record Insider Trading Scheme
- Former FCC Chair Joins Secretive Carlyle Group
A Socialist Elected in Seattle: Kshama Sawant on Occupy, Fight for 15, Boeing's "Economic Blackmail"
Seattle has elected its first Socialist to city office in generations. Kshama Sawant’s election to the Seattle City Council made her one of a few Socialists to hold elected office in the country. Sawant is an economics teacher and former Occupy Wall Street activist who ran on a campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. "The important thing about running as a Socialist is, for one, to show that there is a definite openness for clear alternatives, not only to the big business parties, but the system that they represent, the capitalist system," Sawant says. Seattle’s new mayor, Ed Murray, has announced plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for all city employees. Meanwhile, voters in the nearby community of SeaTac recently increased the minimum wage for many local workers to $15. The vote suffered a setback when a judge ruled last month that the raise does not apply to workers at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the area’s largest employer. That ruling has been appealed. Murray and Sawant are being sworn in today with record crowds expected at City Hall.
As we continue our conversation on the nationwide shift toward liberalizing drug laws, we are joined by the groundbreaking neuropsychopharmacologist Dr. Carl Hart. He is the first tenured African-American professor in the sciences at Columbia University, where he is an associate professor in the psychology and psychiatry departments. He is also a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse and a research scientist in the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. However, long before he entered the hallowed halls of the Ivy League, Hart gained firsthand knowledge about drug usage while growing up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods. He recently wrote a memoir titled "High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society." In the book, he recalls his journey of self-discovery, how he escaped a life of crime and drugs and avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies.
New York state is poised to become the latest state to loosen restrictions on marijuana usage. This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will reportedly announce a plan to use his executive power to allow 20 hospitals across the state to prescribe marijuana to certain patients. The governor’s surprise reversal on medical marijuana is part of a nationwide shift in drug laws. Last week, the world’s first state-licensed marijuana retail stores opened in Colorado to long lines of customers. Possession and private use of marijuana has been legal in Colorado over the past year, but it will now be legally produced and sold, as well. Around three dozen stores have been licensed to sell to customers. We speak to Gabriel Sayegh, the director of the Drug Policy Alliance’s New York policy office.
- Iraq Loses Control of Fallujah, Key Site in U.S. War
- Syria Rebels Battle Al-Qaeda-Linked Fighters
- Afghanistan: Violence Against Women Hits Record High
- "Polar Vortex" Brings Life-Threatening Cold to U.S.
- Australia Suffers Hottest Year on Record
- 30,000 African Migrants Protest Detention Law in Israel
- Kerry: Saudi King Voices "Enthusiastic Support" for Peace Talks
- Egypt Court Sentences 12 Activists to Suspended Jail Terms
- Boeing Workers Accept Major Concessions to Keep 777X in Washington
- NSA Declines to Specify Whether It's Spying on Congress
- Report: Oil in ND Train Explosion Contained High Levels of Flammable Chemicals
- AP: States Confirm Oil, Gas Drilling Contaminates Well Water
- USDA Proposes Lifting Restrictions on GMO Corn, Soybean Seeds
- Appeals Court Considers Texas Rule That Shuttered Abortion Clinics
On the same day the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect on Jan. 1, 1994, the Zapatista National Liberation Army and people of Chiapas declared war on the Mexican government, saying that NAFTA meant death to indigenous peoples. They took over five major towns in Chiapas with fully armed women and men. The uprising was a shock, even for those who for years worked in the very communities where the rebel army had been secretly organizing. To learn about the impact of the uprising 20 years later and the challenges they continue to face, we speak with Peter Rosset, professor of rural social movements in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico.
The North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada went into effect 20 years ago this week on January 1, 1994. The massive trade pact was signed into law by President Bill Clinton amidst great promise that it would raise wages, create jobs and even improve health and environmental safety standards. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs have vanished as companies sought lower-wage workers in Mexico. Meanwhile, NAFTA has generated more poverty in Mexico, forcing millions of citizens to migrate to the United States in search of work. We speak to Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and author of the new report, "NAFTA at 20."
Texas Student: After Reporting Rape, I Was Accused of "Public Lewdness," Sent to Disciplinary School
We begin today’s show with a shocking story about a Texas teenager named Rachel Bradshaw-Bean, who was accused of "public lewdness" and removed from her high school after she reported being raped in the band room. Her rapist was punished by being sent to a disciplinary school. Bradshaw-Bean was sent there too. She said she was treated "like a prisoner" for reporting the crime. The incident occurred in 2010, but it is now getting national attention after Bradshaw-Bean decided to speak publicly about being raped and about what happened next. In the summer of 2012, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights ruled that the school had violated Title IX, the federal law prohibiting gender discrimination in education. We speak to Bradshaw-Bean and Sandra Park, a senior attorney with the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. "What we know about rape in this country is that half of the women who are raped are under the age of 18, so we are talking about girls, and a significant number of those sexual assaults are occurring in schools," Park says. "It’s vitally important that school administrators and police really understand their obligations to respond to the violence and not turn around and penalize the victim like they did in Rachel’s case."
- Sunni Militants Lay Siege to Key Cities in Iraq
- U.N. Warns Global Crises Testing Limits of Humanitarian System
- South Sudan Peace Talks Begin; Rebels Forcibly Recruit Civilians
- Bomb Blast Kills 5 South of Beirut
- U.S. Senators Pressure Afghan President on Troop Deal, Prisoner Release
- Cambodia: Police Open Fire on Striking Garment Workers
- Former Rwandan Spy Chief Murdered in South Africa
- U.S. Transfers Last 3 Uyghur Prisoners from Guantánamo
- Snowstorm Blasts Eastern U.S.
- Israeli Politicians Mark New West Bank Settlements as Kerry Arrives for Talks
- Hundreds Protest After Teenage Rape Victim Burned to Death in India
- Catholic Official Released from Prison After Appeal in Sex-Abuse Case
- California Court Lets Undocumented Man Become Lawyer
- Bratton Sworn In as New York City Police Commissioner
- Report: World's Top 300 Wealthiest People Got Richer Last Year
The civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart has returned home from prison after a federal judge ordered her compassionate release. Stewart is 74 years old and dying from late-stage breast cancer. Viewed by supporters as a political prisoner, she had served almost four years of a 10-year sentence for distributing press releases on behalf of her client, Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric known as the "blind Sheikh." Stewart arrived to a group of cheering supporters in New York City on Wednesday. Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman and Renée Feltz were at the airport to cover the homecoming and speak with Stewart about her time behind bars and her plans to continue fighting for political prisoners — and for her own life — now that she's free.
Letitia James was sworn in on Wednesday as New York City’s new public advocate, the position previously occupied by new mayor Bill de Blasio. James is the first African-American woman to be elected to citywide office in New York. In her speech, she condemned "a gilded age of inequality" that grew under de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. An 11-year-old homeless girl named Dasani Coates, who was recently profiled in The New York Times, held the Bible during James’ swearing in.
Singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte opened Wednesday’s inauguration for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Changing the stop-and-frisk law is — as important as it is, the change of a law is only the tip of the iceberg in fixing our deeply Dickensian justice system," Belafonte said. "Bill de Blasio has been overwhelmingly mandated to make many, who for much too long danced with despair, believe again that the American dream is attainable. A dream filled with hope, a dream filled with opportunity and justice. ... Bill de Blasio gives New York another opportunity to open the door of possibilities. We New Yorkers must not let him fail."
Bill de Blasio began his term as New York City mayor on Wednesday with a bold pledge to tackle income inequality in the nation’s largest city. De Blasio was sworn in following last year’s historic victories in the Democratic primary and general election on a progressive platform. In his inaugural address, de Blasio focused on his campaign pledge to tackle what he called "a tale of two cities," a growing gap between rich and poor. "New Yorkers [will] see our city not as the exclusive domain of the One Percent, but a place where everyday people can afford to live, work, and raise a family," de Blasio said. "We won’t wait. We’ll do it now."
- South Sudan Peace Talks Begin Amidst Continued Violence
- U.N.: Both Sides of South Sudan Conflict Committing "Terrible Violence"
- Hotel Bombing Kills 11 in Somalia
- Militants Control Provincial Capitals in Growing Iraq Violence
- Al Jazeera Seeks Release of 3 Detained Journalists in Egypt
- Israel to Announce New Settlements After Kerry Visit
- Explosion Kills Palestinian Ambassador to Czech Republic
- Millions Receive Coverage as Obamacare Plans Take Effect
- De Blasio Takes Aim at NYC's Inequality in Inaugural Address
- Civil Rights Attorney Lynne Stewart Free After Compassionate Release
- Colorado Retailers Begin Legal Marijuana Sales
- Judge Strikes Down Welfare Drug Tests in Florida
- Federal Judge Upholds Unfettered Electronics Searches at U.S. Border
- Catholic Groups Win Obamacare Exemption on Contraception Coverage
- NYT Editors Back Clemency for Edward Snowden
Today we look back at 2013. It was a historic year. Edward Snowden exposed how the National Security Agency had built a worldwide surveillance apparatus, while Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail for leaking U.S. secret documents to WikiLeaks. Pope Francis urged the world to address economic inequality, warning about the tyranny of unfettered capitalism. Tens of thousands were killed in Syria, with many more displaced. The Philippines was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, while overturning the Defense of Marriage Act that barred federal recognition of same-sex marriages. George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin. The U.S. government was shut down for 16 days, while Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform or any true gun-control measures. The U.S. war in Afghanistan entered its 13th year, while more than 8,000 civilians were killed in Iraq — in the deadliest year there since 2008. Meanwhile, Obama’s secret drone wars continued in Pakistan and Yemen. We spend the hour today looking back at the stories that shaped 2013.
On the last day of 2013, we look back on some of the many signs of hope that emerged on issues ranging from economic equality to LGBT rights to climate justice. With all the bad news that came this year, there were many encouraging displays of a shifting public consciousness and a willingness by ordinary people to mobilize for change. We are joined by Sarah van Gelder, co-founder and editor-in-chief of YES! Magazine, whose latest article is "10 Hopeful Things That Happened in 2013 to Get You Inspired for What’s to Come."
At the Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany, independent journalist and security expert Jacob Appelbaum revealed the existence of a futuristic-sounding device described as a portable continuous wave generator. It’s a remote-controlled device that works in tandem with tiny electronic implants to bounce invisible waves of energy off keyboards and monitors to see what’s being typed. It works even if the target device isn’t connected to the Internet.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed a major gathering of computer experts Monday at the Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany, calling on them to join forces in resisting government intrusions on Internet freedom and privacy. We play highlights from Assange’s speech, as well as the one given by Sarah Harrison, the WikiLeaks member who accompanied Edward Snowden to Russia. We also hear from independent journalist and security expert Jacob Appelbaum, who reveals a spying tool used by the National Security Agency known as a "portable continuous wave generator." The remote-controlled device works in tandem with tiny electronic implants to bounce invisible waves of energy off keyboards and monitors to see what is being typed. It works even if the target computer is not connected to the Internet.
Egypt is facing a major escalation of a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and other critical voices. The military government has designated the Brotherhood a "terrorist organization" after a suicide bombing last week that killed 14 people. The announcement came even though the Brotherhood condemned the attack and an unrelated jihadist group claimed responsibility. Using the "terrorism" label, the Egyptian regime has arrested hundreds of Brotherhood members and seized their assets. It is the latest in a crackdown that began with the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July following mass protests against his rule. The crackdown has also spread to opposition activists and journalists. Two leading figures behind the 2011 uprising, Alaa Abd El-Fattah and Ahmed Maher, remain behind bars following their arrests for opposing a new anti-protest law. El-Fattah is awaiting trial while Maher and two others have been sentenced to three years in prison. Meanwhile, four journalists with the news network Al Jazeera — correspondent Peter Greste, producers Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and cameraman Mohamed Fawzy — were arrested in Cairo on accusations of "spreading false news" and holding meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood. Only Fawzy has been released so far. Egypt’s military government has repeatedly targeted Al Jazeera, raiding offices, ordering an affiliate’s closure and deporting several staffers. The arrests come as a new report details the dangerous conditions for journalists in Egypt and other troubled areas around the world. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, conditions in Egypt "deteriorated dramatically" in 2013, with six reporters killed, more than in any previous year. Egypt trailed only Iraq, where 10 journalists were killed, and Syria, where at least 29 journalists were killed. Overall, the Middle East accounted for two-thirds of at least 70 reporters’ deaths worldwide. We are joined by two guests: Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists; and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Democracy Now! correspondent and a fellow at The Nation Institute.