Feed aggregator

An Alternative State of the Union: Progressives on Obama's Legacy & Their Hopes for His Final Year

Democracy Now - Wed 07 13 AM

President Obama’s State of the Union Tuesday night was the seventh and final of his presidency. Obama defended his record while implicitly criticizing the Republican candidates who want to succeed him. While mostly avoiding specific policy proposals, Obama spoke out against stigmatizing vulnerable communities, including Muslims, immigrants and lower-income Americans. He defended his historic agreements with Iran and Cuba while touting the U.S. as "the most powerful nation on Earth." Obama called for change in the U.S. political system to stop the outsize influence of wealthy donors, and urged Congress to take meaningful action on climate change—including stopping its denial. We host a roundtable discussion on President Obama’s final SOTU and progressive hopes for his last year in office with five guests: Maryland Democratic congressmember and U.S. Senate candidate Donna Edwards; public TV broadcaster and author Tavis Smiley; Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza; CodePink founder Medea Benjamin; and migrant justice activist and military veteran Claudia Palacios.

Why is Ramsey Orta, Man Who Filmed Police Killing of Eric Garner, the Only One Criminally Charged?

Democracy Now - Tue 07 47 AM

As Sgt. Kizzy Adonis becomes the first officer to face reprimand for Eric Garner’s death, the only person present that day to be criminally charged is the young man who filmed it. Ramsey Orta, who recorded the fatal chokehold on his cellphone, has been arrested multiple times since. Orta says police have deliberately targeted him for capturing Garner’s death on video and exposing it to the world. Supporters rallied for Orta on Monday at a court appearance on Staten Island. Orta joins us along with Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica Garner, and Reggie Harris, a member of the Black Organizing Project.

Watch Part 2 of the interview

Eric Garner's Daughter: Instead of Black Supervisor, Charge the White Officers Who Killed My Father

Democracy Now - Tue 07 39 AM

Eighteen months after Eric Garner’s death at the hands of New York City police, one officer is finally facing charges. But the charges are not criminal, and the officer was not directly involved in Garner’s death by chokehold. Instead, Sergeant Kizzy Adonis, who is African-American, faces internal charges of "failing to supervise." The internal charges against Adonis come just over a year after a grand jury elected not to indict white officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Garner in a chokehold. Pantaleo remains under Justice Department investigation. The Garner family reached a $5.9 million settlement with New York City in July. We are joined by Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica Garner, who says authorities should be charging the officers who killed her father.

Watch Part 2 of the interview

Mexican Writer Elena Poniatowska on the Missing 43 Students, 1968 Massacre & U.S.-Backed Drug War

Democracy Now - Tue 07 26 AM

One of Mexico’s most beloved writers, Elena Poniatowska is a founder of the newspaper La Jornada and the country’s first feminist magazine, Fem. She’s the recipient of the Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious literary prize in the Spanish language, and is the first woman to win the Mexican National Award for Journalism. Poniatowska joins us to discuss the capture of El Chapo, the movement surrounding the missing students in Ayotzinapa, the Tlatelolco student massacre of 1968 and the failed U.S.-backed drug war.

El Chapo is Caught, But Corruption, U.S. Consumption & Failed Drug War Keep the Cartels in Business

Democracy Now - Tue 07 10 AM

The Mexican government has moved toward extraditing drug lord Joaquín "Chapo" Guzmán to the United States after his recapture in Mexico on Friday. Guzmán’s drug cartel is said to be one of the most powerful in the world. But it’s unclear how much of an impact his arrest will have on a drug war that has killed tens of thousands in Mexico over the past decade. Critics say that if sensible drug laws were established in Guzmán’s chief market—the United States—drug lords like him would not be in business. We are joined from Mexico City by two guests: Laura Carlsen, director of the Mexico City-based Americas Program of the Center for International Policy, and Elena Poniatowska, a founder of the newspaper La Jornada and one of Mexico’s most beloved writers.

Historic Trial Lets Activists Who Blocked Oil Train Cite Climate Change Threat in Their Defense

Democracy Now - Mon 07 50 AM

Five climate justice activists go on trial in Washington state today for tying themselves to a 25-foot tripod structure to block a mile-long oil train. The protesters, members of the activist group Rising Tide Seattle, demanded a halt of shipments of fossil fuels through the Northwest following a string of derailments in the U.S. and Canada. In an unprecedented move, the presiding judge will allow the defendants to argue their actions were necessary because of the threat of climate change. We speak with Abby Brockway, one of the members of the Delta 5, and Tim DeChristopher, founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, who spent 21 months in federal custody for posing as a bidder in 2008 to prevent oil and gas drilling on thousands of acres of public land in his home state of Utah.

"The National Shame Continues": On Its 14th Anniversary, Will Guantánamo Ever Be Closed?

Democracy Now - Mon 07 46 AM

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the opening of the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo, where 107 prisoners are still being held. Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, represented Mohamedou Ould Slahi, one of the men still being held. Last year a book collecting Slahi’s diary writings became a surprise best-seller. "This is a shame that threatens more than ever to mar President Obama’s legacy as he leaves office, and the potential that he leaves office without closing Guantánamo," Shamsi says. "There are many men unjustly continuing to be held at Guantánamo. My client’s story is symbolizing an aspect of it."

Historic Settlement over NYPD's Anti-Muslim Spying Imposes Oversight & Bars Ethnic-Based Targeting

Democracy Now - Mon 07 34 AM

In a major legal victory, New York City will appoint an independent civilian monitor to oversee the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism activities. The announcement comes after two lawsuits challenged the NYPD’s programs of spying on Muslims and religious centers. The suits argued the NYPD violated the U.S. and New York state constitutions by singling out and stigmatizing entire communities based on their religion. The settlement restores some of the NYPD’s outside oversight, which was eliminated after the September 11 attacks. We are joined by Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

Muslim Woman & Jewish Man Booted from Trump Rally for Silent Protest Against Islamophobia

Democracy Now - Mon 07 14 AM

A Muslim woman and a Jewish man were kicked out of a Donald Trump rally on Friday after silently protesting the Republican front-runner’s Islamophobic views. Rose Hamid, a flight attendant, and Marty Rosenbluth, an attorney, wore yellow badges with the word "Muslim"—an intentional reference to the yellow star badges Jews were forced to wear under the Nazis. Rose Hamid was also wearing a hijab and a T-shirt that read "Salam, I come in peace." Friday’s incident comes a month after Trump called for banning Muslims from entering the United States following the attack in San Bernardino. Anti-Muslim incidents have increased around the country in the weeks since. Hamid and Rosenbluth join us to discuss their action.

Resistance & Outrage as Obama Administration Rounds Up Central American Refugees

Democracy Now - Fri 07 51 AM

The new year began inauspiciously for many immigrant families. Federal agents have detained at least 121 people, including children, in raids as part of an operation to deport families fleeing violence in Central America. The raids took place mainly in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. We hear from one of the women targeted by federal authorities. "It was a raid. I think I was one of the first ones detained. On January 2 at 6:45 a.m., they grabbed me. They came to my house looking for someone else," said Ana, a Honduran immigrant now being detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, with her 10-year-old son. They arrived in the United States in June 2014 after fleeing Honduras. We hear from Ana and speak to two immigration attorneys, Katie Shepherd and Barbara Hines.

18 Guatemalan Ex-Military Leaders Arrested for Crimes Against Humanity During U.S.-Backed Dirty War

Democracy Now - Fri 07 37 AM

In a stunning development, Guatemalan police have arrested 18 ex-military leaders on charges of committing crimes against humanity during the decades-long, U.S.-backed dirty war against Guatemala’s indigenous communities. The ex-military leaders face charges of ordering massacres and forced disappearances during the conflict, which led to perhaps a quarter-million deaths. Many of the arrested former military leaders were backed by the United States, including Manuel Benedicto Lucas García, who had worked closely with U.S. military officials to develop a system of attacking the highlands where Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan communities reside. The system involved decapitating and crucifying people. We speak to investigative journalist and activist Allan Nairn.

"Gov. Snyder Should Be Arrested": Flint Residents Demand Justice over Water Poisoning

Democracy Now - Fri 07 28 AM

Protests are growing in Flint, Michigan, over the state’s cover-up of the ongoing water contamination crisis. Filmmaker Michael Moore is asking fans to sign a petition on his website calling for the immediate resignation of Governor Rick Snyder. In an open letter to the governor, he writes: "[Y]ou have effectively poisoned, not just some, but apparently ALL of the children in my hometown of Flint, Michigan. And for that, you have to go to jail." We speak to Nayyirah Shariff, coordinator with the Flint Democracy Defense League.

Amid State & Fed. Cover-Up, the Story of How Researchers & Residents Exposed Flint's Water Poisoning

Democracy Now - Fri 07 21 AM

For over a year, Flint residents have complained about the quality of the water, but their cries were ignored by state officials. In February, tests showed alarming levels of lead in the water, but officials told residents there was no threat. That same month, an EPA official named Miguel Del Toral wrote an email to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality warning about lead contamination. No action was taken. He wrote another email in April to the EPA. Then in July, Governor Snyder’s chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, wrote an email to health officials admitting that Flint residents are "basically getting blown off by us."

Poisoned Democracy: How an Unelected Official Contaminated Flint's Water to Save Money

Democracy Now - Fri 07 09 AM

In Flint, Michigan, a growing number of residents are demanding the arrest of Governor Rick Snyder over the ongoing water contamination crisis. Snyder declared a state of emergency for Flint Wednesday, after learning federal prosecutors had opened an investigation into lead contamination in the drinking water. The poisoning began after an unelected emergency manager appointed by Governor Snyder switched the city’s water source to the long-polluted Flint River in a bid to save money. Lead can cause permanent health impacts including memory loss and developmental impairment. Researchers at Virginia Tech who have been testing Flint water say the city could have corrected the problem by better treating the water at a cost of as little as $100 a day. On Thursday, the mayor of Flint revealed it could now cost as much as $1.5 billion to fix the city’s water infrastructure. We speak to Curt Guyette, investigative reporter for the ACLU of Michigan, who has closely covered the story.

Fort Dix Five: Prosecuted by Christie, Muslim Brothers Get Rare Day in Court in FBI Entrapment Case

Democracy Now - Thu 07 50 AM

In 2008, the Duka brothers—Shain, Dritan and Eljvir—were among five men from suburban New Jersey who were convicted of conspiring to kill American soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base. The three are serving life sentences, but their supporters say the men were entrapped by the FBI. On Wednesday, the three brothers appeared in a courthouse in Camden, New Jersey, for a rare court-ordered hearing to determine whether they received a fair trial and effective representation from their lawyers. We bring you voices from a rally organized in support of the three Duka brothers and speak with Robert Boyle, attorney for Shain Duka.

"A Travesty": Is Japan's Apology to Korean "Comfort Women" an Attempt to Silence Them?

Democracy Now - Thu 07 46 AM

Late last month, Japan and South Korea reached a deal aimed at addressing the demands of so-called comfort women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. The deal includes an apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a more than $8 million fund for survivors. Survivors have said the deal falls far short of their call for Japan to admit legal responsibility and pay formal reparations. The deal has been met by protests in Seoul.