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Mark Udall, Leading Senate Voice on NSA Surveillance and Environment, Ousted in Heated Colorado Race

Democracy Now - Wed 07 53 AM

The Republican gains in a majority of the midterms’ tightly contested Senate races included Colorado, where Cory Gardner ousted Sen. Mark Udall, a leading Senate voice on the environment and National Security Agency surveillance of Americans. Outside groups poured millions of dollars into the campaigns. We’re joined from Denver by Susan Greene of The Colorado Independent, a longtime reporter and columnist.

Can Push for Single-Payer Healthcare Survive in Vermont After Shockingly Tight Governor’s Race?

Democracy Now - Wed 07 50 AM

In Vermont, incumbent Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin has nearly been unseated in a shocking upset. In a process unique to Vermont, projections now show the governor’s race will be decided by the state Legislature after neither Shumlin nor his Republican challenger reached the necessary threshold of 50 percent. The state Legislature remains solidly Democratic, so Shumlin will likely keep his seat. But Shumlin was not considered a vulnerable candidate before last night, and Scott Milne, his challenger, was a relative unknown. The election is seen as a possible referendum on healthcare reform after Shumlin has vowed to make Vermont the first state with a single-payer healthcare system. The state’s embattled health insurance exchange implemented under Obamacare has been down since September. We are joined by Peter Sterling, executive director of Vermont Leads, an organization that advocates for single-payer healthcare in Vermont.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: The United States is on the Verge of Becoming an Oligarchy

Democracy Now - Wed 07 43 AM

We get reaction to the Republicans’ big midterm victory from Sen. Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont. "What frightens me is what Citizens United has done to the politics of this country and the ability of billionaires like the Koch brothers and others to put unprecedented sums of money into elections," Sanders says. "I fear that we may be on the verge of becoming an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires control not just the economy, but the political life of this country. And that’s just something we’re going to have wrestle with."

Grassroots Activism Helped Elect Obama in 2008 — Will It Resurface to Push Him in Next 2 Years?

Democracy Now - Wed 07 33 AM

President Obama is facing a similar predicament as Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — the last three presidents to serve two terms. They all governed for the final two years with the opposition controlling both chambers of Congress. "Presidents have the ability to define the last quarter of their second term, even if there is a strong opposition," says John Nichols, political writer for The Nation. "My fear with Obama is that he will let the Republicans do too much of the defining, and so this becomes an incredibly important moment for grassroots movements."

A Big Win for Climate Change Denial: Republicans to Target EPA Regulations After Taking Senate

Democracy Now - Wed 07 22 AM

With their newfound control of both houses of Congress, the Republican agenda includes a rollback of environmental regulations, including President Obama’s new rules limiting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. We discuss this prospect with Lee Fang, a reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, and blogger about money and politics at the the Republic Report. "This Republican majority owes its fortunes to a small number of fossil companies who were very big campaign spenders," Fang says. "And the next Congress will see some of the most avowed climate change deniers taking control of key congressional committees in the Senate and in the House."

The Citizens United Senator: After GOP's Midterm Rout, Mitch McConnell Likely Next Majority Leader

Democracy Now - Wed 07 09 AM

Republicans have emerged from Tuesday’s midterm elections with control of Congress for the first time in eight years by winning key Senate seats and strengthening their majority in the House. Republican candidates won at least 10 of the day’s 13 closely contested Senate races, giving the party control of the Senate for the first time since 2007. Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell is expected to become the next Senate majority leader after defeating Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in one of the nation’s highest-profile contests. McConnell has played a leading role in fighting campaign finance reform and supporting the Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates to unlimited election spending. The $4 billion price tag made this election the most expensive midterm in history. We look at the Kentucky race and what to expect out of a McConnell-led Senate with Phillip Bailey, a freelance journalist in Louisville.

GOP Threatens a Senate Takeover, But State Votes Could Bring Rejection of Right-Wing Agenda

Democracy Now - Tue 07 50 AM

While each House seat is up for grabs in today’s midterms, only a few dozen races are competitive enough to be in play. It is control of the Senate that hangs in the balance, coming down to around 10 key races. Republicans need to gain six seats to recapture Senate control, with a slight edge over Democrats in the advance polls. A few races are so close that they could go to a runoff. That potentially means we end Tuesday night with the Senate still undecided. Senate control is crucial, with Republicans vowing an agenda that includes more cuts to public spending, and repealing environmental regulations, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s limits on emissions from coal-fired power plants and control of committees addressing global warming. But no matter how the Senate goes, we can expect mixed results at the state level as incumbent governors from both main parties face a voter backlash. The midterms will also see votes on 147 ballot measures, covering a number of key issues. Four states will vote on raising the minimum wage — Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. Polls show the measures will likely pass despite them all coming in Republican states. We get a roundup of the key issues from John Nichols and Lee Fang, contributors to The Nation magazine.

The Priciest Midterms Ever, Brought to You by "Dark Money" and Election Finance Out of Control

Democracy Now - Tue 07 40 AM

The most expensive midterms in history could see one of the lowest turnouts in years. Voting numbers will likely dip below the 40 percent mark of both 2006 and 2010. This despite a record estimate of $4 billion in spending. One quarter of that money, some $1 billion, will come from anonymous, so-called dark money groups. That money has gone into creating some two million television ads — most of them attack ads. We are joined by Lee Fang, one reporter attempting to follow the dark money trail. A reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, Fang blogs about money and politics at the Republic Report.

New Voter Suppression Laws Could Decide Key Races, and Turn Back the Clocks for Years to Come

Democracy Now - Tue 07 30 AM

Earlier this year, Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP and current chair Southern Election Fund, put out a report showing how a targeted wave of voter registration among people of color voters could shift the balance of power in key Southern states. But these efforts have come up against a series of cumbersome voter ID laws that have made it harder for people to vote, buttressed by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating key parts of the Voting Rights Act. "The Republicans aren’t doubling down on voter suppression in states they’re trying to acquire," Jealous says. "They’re doubling down on voter suppression in states [where] they’re afraid of losing control … This is what it looks like when the clocks are being turned back."

40,000 Voters Missing in Georgia? After Registration Drive in Areas of Color, Names Left off Rolls

Democracy Now - Tue 07 13 AM

With control of the Senate up for grabs in today’s midterm elections, a major voting registration controversy could impact one of the chamber’s tightest races. More than 40,000 voter registrations have allegedly gone missing in Georgia, most of them representing communities of color, who largely support Democrats. Could this help Republicans win the Senate? We are joined by Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, whose group the New Georgia Project submitted the tens of thousands of voter registration forms that have gone missing. Abrams is the first African American to lead the Georgia House and the first woman to lead a party in either chamber of the Georgia Legislature. We are also joined by Benjamin Jealous, former head of the NAACP and chairman of the Southern Election Fund.

Jim Crow Returns: Interstate "Crosscheck" Program Could Strip Millions of the Right to Vote

Democracy Now - Mon 07 31 AM

On the eve of the midterm elections, we air a report by investigative journalist Greg Palast on how new voter ID laws risk disenfranchising millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters. Twenty-seven states are now participating in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. Backers say it is needed to prevent voter fraud, but critics say it is being used to stop Democratic-leaning voters from going to the polls. Tens of thousands of names have already been removed, and millions more are threatened. Based on a six-month investigation, Palast’s report originally aired on Al Jazeera America. A Puffin Foundation fellow, Palast is the author of the New York Times best-seller, "Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps."

Honoring Mama Africa: Angélique Kidjo Pays Tribute to South African Singer, Activist Miriam Makeba

Democracy Now - Mon 07 25 AM

The Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Angélique Kidjo joins us to discuss her upcoming tribute to Miriam Makeba, the legendary South African singer and activist. "Mama Africa: A Tribute to Miriam Makeba" will be performed Wednesday at Carnegie Hall in New York City. A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Kidjo is the author of the memoir, "Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music." Her latest album, “EVE,” is dedicated to the Women of Africa.

Angélique Kidjo: Don't Let the Ebola Crisis Dehumanize Africa and Don't Let Hate Consume America

Democracy Now - Mon 07 12 AM

As Ebola cases surge in Sierra Leone and the confirmed overall toll tops 5,000, we discuss West Africa’s growing epidemic and the world’s lackluster response with the Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Angélique Kidjo. A native of Benin, Kidjo is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, co-founder of the Batonga Foundation for Girls Education, and author of the memoir "Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music." Her latest album, “EVE,” is dedicated to the women of Africa. Last week, Kidjo wrote a piece in The New York Times headlined "Don’t Let Ebola Dehumanize Africa."

The Nazis Next Door: Eric Lichtblau on How the CIA & FBI Secretly Sheltered Nazi War Criminals

Democracy Now - Fri 06 47 AM

Investigative reporter Eric Lichtblau’s new book unveils the secret history of how the United States became a safe haven for thousands of Nazi war criminals. Many of them were brought here after World War II by the CIA and got support from then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Lichtblau first broke the story in 2010, based on newly declassified documents. Now, after interviews with dozens of agents for the first time, he has published his new book, "The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men."

Click here to watch part 2 of this interview.

Gubernatorial Candidate Howie Hawkins Calls for a "Green New Deal for New York"

Democracy Now - Fri 06 28 AM

In New York state, the Green Party hopes to make major gains in the race for governor. Its candidate, Howie Hawkins, is taking on incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo, Republican Rob Astorino and Libertarian Michael McDermott. Hawkins is one of more than 200 Green candidates running for office across the country on Tuesday. Hawkins is calling for a "Green New Deal" that includes public jobs for the unemployed, single-payer healthcare, a ban on fracking and a 100 percent clean-energy future. Last week, he participated in four-way gubernatorial debate where Democracy Now! co-host Juan González questioned Cuomo about his record of dealing with corruption.

How to Buy a City: Chevron Spends $3 Million on Local California Election to Oust Refinery Critics

Democracy Now - Fri 06 18 AM

The oil giant Chevron is being accused of attempting to buy the city government of Richmond, California. The company has spent more than $3 million to back a slate of pro-Chevron candidates for mayor and city council ahead of Tuesday’s election. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Chevron has paid for TV attack ads, purchased space on virtually every billboard in town, funded a flood of mailers and financed a fake “news” website run by a Chevron employee. The move comes two years after a massive fire at Chevron’s oil refinery in Richmond sent 15,000 residents to the hospital. It was the third refinery fire since 1989 in the city. The city of Richmond responded to the latest fire by suing Chevron, accusing officials of placing profits and executive pay over public safety. We speak to one of the politicians being targeted, outgoing Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. She was elected mayor of Richmond in 2006, becoming the first Green Party official to represent a city of more than 100,000. Due to mayoral term limits, McLaughlin is now running for Richmond City Council.

Public Health vs. Civil Liberties: Debate over Ebola Quarantines Harkens Back to AIDS Panic in 1980s

Democracy Now - Fri 06 14 AM

Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was quarantined in New Jersey after returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, openly defied the state of Maine by leaving her home and taking a bike ride with her boyfriend on Thursday. Maine Gov. Paul LePage vowed to use “the full extent of his authority allowable by law” to keep her in her home. Juan González talks about his most recent column in the New York Daily News and his interview with Norman Siegel, an attorney for Hickox.