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After Dead Heat in Iowa, Will Clinton Move Further Left to Stop the Sanders Surge?

Democracy Now - Tue 07 30 AM

With Iowa out of the way, the presidential contest now shifts to New Hampshire, which holds its primary a week from today. Then come contests in Nevada and South Carolina, followed by the delegate-rich "Super Tuesday" primaries on March 1. Although Bernie Sanders was able to tie Clinton in Iowa and leads her in the New Hampshire polls, he’ll face a tougher challenge as the contest moves to the Southern states. And Clinton already has a big advantage away from the voting booths: the support of several hundred "superdelegates," who vote based on their own preferences, not their party’s state results. We discuss the Iowa results and look ahead to what’s next with two guests: Ellen Chesler, a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton and senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, and John Nichols, political writer for The Nation, which has endorsed Bernie Sanders, and author of several books, including the newly updated "The 'S' Word: A Short History of an American Tradition...Socialism."

Iowa Caucuses: Bernie Sanders Rallies to Tie Hillary Clinton; Ted Cruz Upsets Donald Trump

Democracy Now - Tue 07 15 AM

The Iowa caucuses saw an upset victory for Republican Senator Ted Cruz over front-runner Donald Trump and a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and rival Bernie Sanders. The latest returns show Clinton leading Sanders by less than half a percentage point, a result that would split Iowa’s delegate votes for the Democratic nomination. Some Democratic caucus sites decided their winner with a coin toss. In all six situations, Clinton won. Florida Senator Marco Rubio came in just behind Trump. On the Republican side, Cruz upset Donald Trump with the help of a strong evangelical turnout. We air highlights from the candidates’ Iowa speeches.

From Taverns to Grain Elevators: How Iowa's Complex Caucus System Works

Democracy Now - Mon 07 50 AM

The Iowa caucus is different from a normal presidential primary: Party members gather and discuss their preferred candidates before ballots are cast. Caucus sites include homes, churches, gyms, halls, libraries, taverns and grain elevators. Turnout varies by community, with up to 1,000 people typically gathering in cities like Des Moines, while a few dozen or less may gather in more sparsely populated areas. At stake is just 1 percent of the delegates candidates needed to win their party’s nomination. Democrats and Republicans each have their own rules over how to caucus. To help us understand what will actually happen tonight, we are joined by Hugh Espey, executive director of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.

Bernie Sanders Says No to Fracked Oil Pipeline in Iowa, Will It Help Him in Today's Caucus?

Democracy Now - Mon 07 41 AM

As the nation focuses on the Iowa caucus, we turn to a local issue that has received little attention. Iowa is facing a growing debate over the Bakken pipeline, a proposed crude oil pipeline that would run diagonally across the state. During his stops in Iowa, Bernie Sanders has used the pipeline to highlight differences with rival Hillary Clinton. We are joined from Des Moines by journalist and historian Jeff Biggers, a writer-in-residence and the founder of the Climate Narrative Project at the University of Iowa.

Iowa Progressives Weigh Clinton vs Sanders as One of Whitest U.S. States Kicks Off Presidential Race

Democracy Now - Mon 07 13 AM

The road to the White House begins in Iowa today with the opening contest of the 2016 presidential campaign. Polls show tight races on both sides. Republican front-runner Donald Trump holds a small lead over Texas Senator Ted Cruz. In the Democratic race, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has rallied to close what was once a 40-point deficit behind Hillary Clinton. Iowa is one of the whitest states in the country. But as the first to vote on presidential hopefuls, the Iowa caucus plays an outsize role in the election cycle. Presidential campaigning now starts a year before the opening Iowa contest—that’s nearly two years before the actual Election Day in November 2016. Voters have been treated to months of visits from candidates and more than $150 million in political advertising. We are joined from Des Moines, Iowa, by Ed Fallon, host of the radio show "Fallon Forum" and former member of the Iowa General Assembly; he is backing Bernie Sanders in the race. We are also joined by Wayne Ford, co-founder and co-chair of the Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum and a backer of Hillary Clinton. He is a former Iowa state representative and Iowa’s longest-serving black legislator.

Maryville Rape Survivor Daisy Coleman Meets Mom of Teen Who Killed Herself After Similar Ordeal

Democracy Now - Fri 07 43 AM

In Part 2 of our interview with subjects of the powerful new documentary "Audrie & Daisy," we look at the story of Daisy Coleman. In early January 2012, when she was a 14-year-old high school freshman, Coleman and her 13-year-old friend, Paige Parkhurst, were invited to a small gathering of high school athletes. The girls had already been drinking when the boys came to pick them up. Daisy blacked out at the party. She says Matthew Barnett sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious, while Jordan Zech, a star high school wrestler, took videos. Barnett would later claim the encounter was consensual. Later that night, the boys dumped Daisy Coleman in her front yard in the snow, where her mother found her, half-frozen, in the morning. Charges were initially brought and dropped against the boys accused of assaulting Daisy and videotaping it, raising suspicions the Nodaway County prosecutor was influenced by Matthew Barnett’s role as a football player and his grandfather’s position as a Missouri state representative. When Daisy’s mother, Melinda, began to raise questions, she lost her job. The family’s house in Maryville mysteriously burned to the ground. Daisy says she was suspended from the cheerleading squad and incessantly bullied. People told her she was "asking for it" and would "get what was coming." She was hounded on social media, called a skank and a liar, and urged to kill herself, which she tried to do, multiple times. We speak with Coleman, along with her mother, Melinda Coleman, and Sheila Pott, the mother of Audrie Pott, who committed suicide after she was sexually assaulted and bullied online afterward. Melinda and Daisy Coleman met Audrie’s mother Sheila for the first time when they arrived for our interview.

"Audrie & Daisy": Mother of Audrie Pott, Teen Who Committed Suicide After Assault, Tells Her Story

Democracy Now - Fri 07 25 AM

Broadcasting from the Sundance Film Festival, we look at the story of two high school girls who were sexually assaulted and bullied on social media in cases that made national headlines. Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman never knew each other. Daisy lived in the small rural town of Maryville, Missouri. Audrie lived in the Silicon Valley suburb of Saratoga, California. But their stories were similar. Both said they were sexually assaulted while intoxicated and unconscious by boys they knew and trusted. Both were harassed on social media afterward, and both attempted to take their own lives. Daisy survived. Audrie did not. A new documentary, "Audrie & Daisy," that premiered at Sundance examines the lives of these two teenagers and the impact of what happened to them on their families, their communities and the national conversation. In Part 1 of our coverage, we speak with Audrie Pott’s mother, Sheila Pott, about how 15-year-old Audrie hanged herself eight days after she was sexually assaulted at a party.

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Sues Bush Admin. Officials for Mass Surveillance During 2002 Olympics

Democracy Now - Fri 07 21 AM

Rocky Anderson, former mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, has filed a lawsuit over government surveillance of phone, text and email communications that the Bush administration allegedly conducted during the 2002 Winter Olympics. He argues they put a "surveillance cone" over a broad geographic area and violated surveillance laws enacted in the 1970s after the Church Committee hearings exposed similar civil rights abuses.

Trump Absent, GOP Presidential Candidates Face Off on Syria, Planned Parenthood and Islamophobia

Democracy Now - Fri 07 08 AM

Seven Republican presidential candidates faced off Thursday in their final debate before the Iowa caucuses. The front-runner, at least according to the polls, was missing. Donald Trump hosted his own event three miles away, saying he was boycotting the debate after Fox News refused to remove anchor Megyn Kelly as one of its moderators. We feature excerpts from the debate about Planned Parenthood, proposals to "carpet bomb" areas of Syria in the effort to fight the self-proclaimed Islamic State, and hate crimes against Muslims; and get reaction from a man who ran for president as a third-party candidate. Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, is a former Democrat who once endorsed Mitt Romney for governor of Massachusetts. In 2012, he ran for president on the Justice Party ticket. He’s also an attorney and the founder of High Road for Human Rights.

Covering War to End War: New Film Recounts Life & Legacy of James Foley, Journalist Killed by ISIS

Democracy Now - Thu 07 27 AM

As we broadcast from the Sundance Film Festival, we feature a new film about James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State in August of 2014. Foley was a freelance journalist who covered Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. In 2011, he was kidnapped and held for 44 days in Libya. A year after his release, he was kidnapped again—this time in Syria. He wasn’t seen again until images of his beheading were broadcast around the world. Discussing his work, Foley said, "I believe frontline journalism is important. Without these photos and videos and firsthand experience, you can’t really tell the world how bad it might be." Since his death, his mother Diane Foley has become a leading critic of a U.S. policy to refuse to negotiate or pay ransom to captors unlike European nations. In November, she told Congress that her son would be alive today had he been French, Spanish, German, Italian or Danish. In part due to her campaigning, the Obama administration announced last year plans to change aspects of the U.S. hostage policy. We speak with James Foley’s parents, Diane and John Foley, who have started the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, and with Brian Oakes, the director of the HBO documentary, "Jim: The James Foley Story," which will premiere on HBO on February 6. Oakes was a childhood friend of Foley.

"The Settlers": New Film Reveals History & Consequences of Israeli Settlements on Palestinian Land

Democracy Now - Thu 07 12 AM

As Israel faces international condemnation over its plan to build 153 new settlement homes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the watchdog group Peace Now reports Israel’s defense minister has approved the construction of the new Jewish-only homes last week. The plan sparked swift criticism from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who called the settlements "an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community." In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Ban Ki-moon’s criticism gives "a tailwind to terrorism" and that the "U.N. lost its neutrality and moral force a long time ago." This comes as President Barack Obama spoke at the Israeli Embassy to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, saying, "We are all indeed Jews." We examine the history and consequences of decades of Israeli settlement construction on Palestinian lands in an interview with Shimon Dotan, the director of an extraordinary new film, "The Settlers," which just had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. "It is such a heated and often discussed topic, but I find that so little is known about it, and often the discussion is misinformed," Dotan says.

Roger Ross Williams, the First Black Oscar-Winning Director, on "Life, Animated" & #OscarsSoWhite

Democracy Now - Wed 07 53 AM

We speak with Roger Ross Williams about his new project, "Life, Animated," which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Williams was the first African-American director to win an Oscar, for his film "Music by Prudence," which won the 2010 Academy Award for documentary short subject. He also directed the critically acclaimed feature documentary "God Loves Uganda." "You feel the weight of history," Williams says of his recognition. "The Academy just reflects Hollywood," Williams says as he discusses why he will not be boycotting the Oscars, but instead plans to continue trying to improve recognition and diversity by mentoring young filmmakers.

Embracing Autism: Journalist Ron Suskind on Supporting His Son's Strengths, Advice for Other Parents

Democracy Now - Wed 07 47 AM

In the new film "Life, Animated," Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind recounts his experience with his son Owen Suskind, who was diagnosed with regressive autism when he was three years old and has since gone to college and now holds two jobs. Elaborating on his best-selling book, "Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism," Suskind says he and other parents have worked to discover what their children are passionate about, and "when you match the strengths with the deficits, often they help themselves." He also discusses challenges for parents with few resources to find schools and assisted living environments for their autistic children, and his advocacy efforts to ensure health insurance companies cover the cost of therapies that could benefit autistic children.

Life, Animated: A Remarkable Story of How a Family Reached Their Autistic Son Through Disney Movies

Democracy Now - Wed 07 10 AM

Today we spend the hour with a young man with autism who learned to interact with the world in an unusual way. Owen Suskind was diagnosed with regressive autism when he was three years old. He stopped talking, and his family said Owen "vanished" within himself. He did not speak for years. Then his father, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind, discovered a remarkable way to talk with his son involving characters from Owen’s favorite Disney films. Owen had memorized the lines to dozens of Disney films, and this discovery changed all of their lives, opening a new way for Owen to communicate. His story became the focus of Ron Suskind’s best-selling book, "Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism." Owen has since gone to college and now holds two jobs. Last year Owen, who is now in his twenties, even appeared on a Comedy Central special alongside the comedian Gilbert Gottfried who did the original voice of Iago the parrot in the Disney film "Aladdin." Now the story of Owen’s life has been turned into the documentary "Life, Animated," which just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In an extended interview, we feature excerpts from the film and speak with Owen Suskind, his father Ron and Roger Ross Williams, the film’s director, in Park City, Utah.

Sundance Too Big? Robert Redford Says Sundance May Separate into Narrative, Doc & Shorts Festivals

Democracy Now - Tue 07 56 AM

The legendary actor and director Robert Redford founded the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, in 1978. It’s now among the largest film festivals in the country, with some 50,000 attendees. "What I never expected was for it to grow to the size it is now," Redford tells Democracy Now! He says the festival may be too large to be sustainable for its small host, Park City, Utah. The solution he says is under consideration is to break up the festival to show narrative films, documentary films and shorts in separate events.