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How the Kochs Tried (and Failed) to Discredit Reporter Jane Mayer After She Exposed their Empire

Democracy Now - Wed 07 53 AM

In 2010, Jane Mayer published an extensive profile of the billionaire Koch brothers in The New Yorker, exploring their quiet effort to funnel more than $100 million to right-wing causes and undermine President Obama’s policy agenda. Six years later, Mayer reveals her subjects responded by hiring a private firm to discredit her reporting. Mayer details the episode in her new book on the Kochs and their right-wing, ultra-rich allies, "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right."

Dark Money: Jane Mayer on How the Koch Bros. & Billionaire Allies Funded the Rise of the Far Right

Democracy Now - Wed 07 21 AM

Democrats and Republicans are expected to spend about $1 billion getting their 2016 nominee elected. There’s a third group that will spend almost as much. It’s not a political party, and it doesn’t have any candidates. It’s the right-wing political network backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, expected to spend nearly $900 million in 2016. The Kochs’ 2016 plans come as part of an effort to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative candidates and causes over the last four decades. The story of the Koch brothers and an allied group of billionaire donors is told in a new book by New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer, "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right." Mayer traces how the Kochs and other billionaires have leveraged their business empires to shape the political system in the mold of their right-wing agenda.

The Kochs & the Nazis: Book Reveals Billionaires' Father Built Key Oil Refinery for the Third Reich

Democracy Now - Wed 07 12 AM

In her new book, "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right," New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer explores how the Koch brothers and fellow right-wing billionaires have funded a political machine aimed at shaping elections and public policy. The book contains a number of revelations and new details. Mayer begins with revealing that the Kochs’ father, industrialist Fred Koch, helped build an oil refinery in Nazi Germany—a project approved personally by Adolf Hitler. The refinery was critical to the Nazi war effort, fueling German warplanes. Mayer joins us to discuss.

Photographing Drone War Protest Lands Peace Activist, Grandmother 6 Months in Prison

Democracy Now - Tue 07 54 AM

An upstate New York peace activist and grandmother is heading to jail today to begin a six-month sentence for photographing a protest at a base where U.S. drones are piloted remotely. Mary Anne Grady Flores had been issued an order of protection aimed at keeping her away from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base after she participated in an act of civil disobedience there in 2012. In 2013, Grady Flores says she attended another peace action but did not participate, instead photographing it from the roadway, beyond what she believed was the base’s boundary. She was later told the base’s property extended into the road. Grady Flores was later sentenced to a year in prison for violating the protection order. Earlier this month, she was told her conviction had been upheld but her sentence reduced to six months, and was ordered to report to prison today. Mary Anne Grady Flores joins us just before is remanded, along with Jonathan Wallace, an attorney who has worked extensively with the drone resistance movement.

Watch Part 2 of the interview with Mary Anne Grady Flores

Is It Fair to Raise Rape & Harassment Allegations Against Bill Clinton in Hillary's 2016 Campaign?

Democracy Now - Tue 07 46 AM

At least three women—Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, and Kathleen Willey—have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault or harassment. Clinton has denied all three allegations but settled out of court with Jones. Broaddrick, who accuses Bill Clinton of rape, has said that Hillary Clinton encouraged her to remain silent. Are the allegations fair game in Hillary’s run for the presidency? We discuss with Liza Featherstone, a contributing editor to The Nation, and Suzanna Walters, a professor of sociology and director of the Gender Studies Program at Northeastern University.

Clinton vs. Sanders, Who Do Progressives Choose? As Race Heats Up, 2 Socialist Feminists Debate

Democracy Now - Tue 07 29 AM

In the final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton clashed with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in their most contentious sparring match so far. Sanders criticized the former secretary of state for her close ties to Wall Street, while Clinton chided Sanders on gun control and cast herself as the political heir to President Obama. Their exchange comes as Sanders has surged in the polls nationwide and in the opening two states up for grabs, Iowa and New Hampshire. As the Democratic race intensifies, we host our own debate between two self-described socialist feminists: Liza Featherstone, a contributing editor to The Nation who supports Sanders, and Suzanna Walters, a professor of sociology and director of the Gender Studies Program at Northeastern University, who supports Clinton.

Shane Bauer, Former US Prisoner in Iran, Spars with Hillary Clinton over Her Call for New Sanctions

Democracy Now - Tue 07 17 AM

On Sunday, CNN’s Jake Tapper questioned Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on her calls for fresh sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile tests. Tapper read out tweets by American journalist and former Iran prisoner Shane Bauer criticizing Clinton’s comments. "When I was in prison in Iran, whenever I heard Hillary’s voice, my heart would sink," Bauer wrote. "All she ever does with Iran is inflame tensions." In response, Clinton said while she "appreciate[s] what he went through … we have a very clear path we are pursuing with Iran," that includes new sanctions, if necessary. Bauer joins us to respond.

Former U.S. Captive in Iran Hails Prisoner Exchange Just as Nuclear Deal Eases Crippling Sanctions

Democracy Now - Tue 07 11 AM

The United States and Iran have conducted a prisoner exchange just as the historic nuclear deal took effect this weekend. The U.S. freed seven Iranian nationals convicted of violating economic sanctions. In exchange, Iran freed four Americans, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. The other prisoners freed were Marine veteran Amir Hekmati, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, whose imprisonment had been secret until the exchange was announced. A fifth American national, student Matthew Trevithick, was released separately from the prisoner swap and has returned to the United States. The exchange coincides with the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal. The U.S. and other world powers have partially lifted crippling economic sanctions after the International Atomic Energy Agency certified Iran’s compliance with the dismantling of its nuclear infrastructure. We are joined by Shane Bauer, a journalist who spent 26 months in Tehran’s Evin Prison, four of them in solitary, after he and two other Americans, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal, were captured in July 2009 while hiking near the unmarked Iran-Iraq border. Bauer is an award-winning senior reporter at Mother Jones and co-author of the memoir, "A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran."

Newly Discovered 1964 MLK Speech on Civil Rights, Segregation & Apartheid South Africa

Democracy Now - Mon 07 01 AM

In a Democracy Now! and Pacifica Radio Archives exclusive, we air a newly discovered recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On December 7, 1964, days before he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, King gave a major address in London on segregation, the fight for civil rights and his support for Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. The speech was recorded by Saul Bernstein, who was working as the European correspondent for Pacifica Radio. Bernstein’s recording was recently discovered by Brian DeShazor, director of the Pacifica Radio Archives.

Emergency for Democracy: Unelected Manager Who Caused Flint Water Crisis Now Runs Detroit Schools

Democracy Now - Fri 07 54 AM

Flint’s water contamination crisis began in April 2014 after Darnell Earley, an unelected emergency manager appointed by Snyder, switched Flint’s water source to the long-polluted and corrosive Flint River in a bid to save money. Earley is now the emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools. This week, Detroit’s teachers have staged a series of "sickouts" to protest the vast underfunding of the public schools, which have black mold, rat infestations, crumbling buildings and inadequate staffing. We are joined by Curt Guyette, an investigative reporter for the ACLU of Michigan whose work focuses on emergency management and open government. Michigan has the most sweeping emergency management laws in the country, which allow the governor to appoint a single person to run financially troubled cities.

Flint Doctor Mona Hanna-Attisha on How She Fought Gov't Denials to Expose Poisoning of City's Kids

Democracy Now - Fri 07 47 AM

Protesters filled the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing on Thursday, calling on Governor Rick Snyder to resign over the contamination crisis his government has caused in the city of Flint’s water. Hours later, Snyder asked President Obama to declare a federal emergency in Flint. Flint residents are dealing not just with lead poisoning, but a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that’s killed 10 people so far. The poisoning began in April 2014 after Darnell Earley, an unelected emergency manager appointed by Snyder, switched Flint’s water source to the long-polluted and corrosive Flint River in a bid to save money. We are joined by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the doctor who helped expose the lead poisoning. Dr. Hanna-Attisha headed a September study that found the proportion of children under five in Flint with elevated lead levels in their blood nearly doubled following the water switch. State officials initially dismissed those findings, but Dr. Hanna-Attisha refused to accept their denials. On Thursday, she was named the head of a new public health initiative to help those exposed to the contamination.

"He Has Summoned a Political Revolution": The Nation Magazine Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

Democracy Now - Fri 07 31 AM

With just weeks to go, polls show Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is edging ahead of front-runner Hillary Clinton in the primary season’s first two contests. Numbers released this week give Sanders a five-point lead over Clinton in Iowa and a four-point lead in New Hampshire. Sanders has also narrowed Clinton’s once commanding lead nationwide, pulling within seven points. As the Democratic race tightens, The Nation magazine—the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States—has issued a rare endorsement. On Thursday, the magazine ran the editorial "Bernie Sanders for President," saying: "[Sanders] has summoned the people to a 'political revolution,' arguing that the changes our country so desperately needs can only happen when we rest our democracy from the corrupt grip of Wall Street bankers and billionaires. We believe such a revolution is not only necessary but possible—and that’s why we’re endorsing Bernie Sanders for president." This marks only the third time in the magazine’s 150-year history that it has endorsed a candidate in the Democratic primary. Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation magazine, joins us to discuss.

Donald Trump, the New George Wallace? Head of Segregationist's 1968 Bid on GOP Front-Runner's Racism

Democracy Now - Fri 07 24 AM

Critics have noted the similarities in rhetoric between Donald Trump and segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace’s 1968 presidential campaign. In November, a Black Lives Matter protester was kicked and punched by Trump supporters at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama, as Trump yelled, "Get him the hell out of here!" Trump later defended his supporters, saying "maybe [the protester] should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing." George Wallace’s daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, has also compared the two campaigns, but says her father may have actually been less extreme. We speak with Tom Turnipseed, who served as the national director of George Wallace’s 1968 presidential campaign, but has since become a civil rights attorney and social justice activist. We are also joined by Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation magazine.

What is This GOP Race About? S.C. Debate Shows Trump's Outsize Role Weeks Before Opening Contest

Democracy Now - Fri 07 12 AM

Republicans held their first debate in the key state of South Carolina last night. Voters head to the polls in South Carolina on February 20 in the third caucus or primary after Iowa and New Hampshire. The latest polls show front-runner Donald Trump continues to hold a commanding national lead at 33 percent—13 points ahead of his closest challenger, Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz, however, has recently surged in the opening contest of Iowa, where he and Trump are now tied. With Cruz in second place, Trump has confronted his top challenger by raising questions about his eligibility to become president, because Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban father and an American mother. We discuss Thursday’s Republican debate with two guests: Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation magazine, and Tom Turnipseed, a self-described "reformed racist" who served as national director of segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace’s 1968 presidential campaign, but has since become a civil rights attorney and social justice activist.

Jane Goodall on the Threat of Animal Agriculture, GOP Climate Change Denial & Why She’s a Vegetarian

Democracy Now - Thu 07 47 AM

Jane Goodall is one of the world’s leading voices on the issue of climate change and protecting the environment. A renowned primatologist, Goodall is best known for her groundbreaking work with chimpanzees and baboons. At the U.N. climate summit in Paris last month, Goodall talked Republican climate change denial, the link between diet and climate change, her hopes "to save the rainforests" from corruption and intensive farming, and how climate concerns drove her to be a vegetarian.

Health or Lobbying? Experts Say U.S. Gov't Caves to Meat Industry in New Dietary Guidelines

Democracy Now - Thu 07 37 AM

Health and environmental experts are accusing the Obama administration of caving to the meat industry in its new dietary guidelines. While the guidelines recommend consuming less sugar, they do not recommend eating less meat. This comes after an intensive lobbying campaign by the meat industry and despite recent findings by the World Health Organization that processed meat can cause cancer. We are joined by Lawrence Gostin, university professor and faculty director at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law.

As California Methane Leak Displaces Thousands, Will U.S. Regulate Natural Gas Sites Nationwide?

Democracy Now - Thu 07 27 AM

Today is day 84 of a runaway natural gas leak above Los Angeles that has emitted more than 150 million pounds of methane, described as the nation’s biggest environmental disaster since the BP oil spill. Nearly 3,000 families in the community of Porter Ranch have been relocated into temporary housing. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in the area last week. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that accelerates climate change 86 times more than carbon dioxide. At its peak, the leak has spewed the equivalent pollution of 4.5 million cars each day. On top of the impact to surrounding communities, the Porter Ranch leak has raised concerns about similar incidents across the state and around the country. There are 14 such natural gas storage facilities in California and more than 400 across the United States. Critics say they are plagued by ailing infrastructure and a lack of adequate regulation. We are joined by two guests: Tim O’Connor, director of the Environmental Defense Fund’s Oil and Gas Program in California, and David Balen, president of Renaissance Homeowners Association, located just outside of the well site.