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"Dark Waters": Meet the Lawyer Whose 20-Year Fight Against DuPont Inspired the New Film
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 08:48:47 -0500
The new film "Dark Waters" tells the story of attorney Rob Bilott's 20-year battle with DuPont over contaminated drinking water in West Virginia from toxic chemicals used to make Teflon. The Environmental Working Group credited Billot with "uncovering the most heinous corporate environmental conspiracy in history," and the issue of contaminated water from the plastics industry continues to devastate areas across the country. On Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group released a shocking report about how toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS have been found in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities, including major metropolitan areas including Miami, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. The so-called forever chemicals are linked to cancer, high cholesterol and decreased fertility, and they do not break down in the environment. We speak with attorney Robert Bilott, who has just published a new book titled "Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer's Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont." He is portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in the Hollywood film "Dark Waters." We're also joined by Tim Robbins, Academy Award-winning actor and director, who plays Bilott's boss at his law firm in "Dark Waters."

Tim Robbins: Bernie Sanders Is the Best Shot We Have to Defeat Donald Trump
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 08:44:30 -0500
We continue our conversation with Academy Award-winning actor and director Tim Robbins, whose recent projects include the new film "Dark Waters" and a play about immigration called "The New Colossus." He recently endorsed Vermont senator and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders for president. "I believe he is the only one of them that can defeat Trump," Robbins says.

"The New Colossus": In New Play, Tim Robbins Tackles Immigration & Xenophobia
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 08:31:21 -0500
President Trump said Wednesday that he would expand his highly controversial travel ban, which already bars citizens from seven countries, most of which have Muslim-majority populations — Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela — from entering the United States. Politico reports that the expanded ban could implement immigration restrictions on seven more countries: Belarus, Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania, according to two sources. We speak with acclaimed actor, director and activist Tim Robbins, whose recent work has focused on immigration to the United States. He has starred in many movies, including "The Shawshank Redemption," "Mystic River" and "Dark Waters." He also wrote and directed the highly acclaimed film "Dead Man Walking." He is the director of a new play about immigration called "The New Colossus," with the play's title borrowed from the 1883 Emma Lazarus sonnet that is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

Trump Brags About Withholding Evidence as Democratic Impeachment Managers Lay Out Case in the Senate
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 08:13:14 -0500
During the opening day of oral arguments in the impeachment trial, President Trump was accused of abusing his office to "cheat an election." House impeachment managers spent about eight hours on Wednesday laying out their case for why President Trump should be removed from office. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached Trump for withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump's political rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. While the impeachment trial was taking place in the Senate, President Trump was across the Atlantic at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he tweeted more than 140 times and dismissed the impeachment trial as a hoax. Trump also appeared to boast about having withheld evidence from the impeachment process, saying, "We have all the material; they don't have the material." For more on the historic impeachment trial, we speak with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and Supreme Court reporter at Slate.com.

Headlines for January 23, 2020
Thu, 23 Jan 2020 08:00:00 -0500
Democrats Accuse Trump of Trying to "Cheat" Upcoming Election, Supreme Court Decides Not to Fast-Track Obamacare Case, D.C. Sues Trump's Inaugural Committee over $1M Rental of Trump Hotel Ballroom, ICJ Orders Burma to Protect Rohingya from Genocide, Trump Says He's Planning to Add More Countries to Travel Ban, State Department to Make It More Difficult for Pregnant Women to Receive Visas, Trump Says He May Cut Medicare, Social Security, Trump Plans to Speak at Anti-Choice March for Life Friday, Chinese Authorities Seal Off City of Wudan as Coronavirus Spreads, Tulsi Gabbard Sues Clinton for Defamation, U.N.: Climate-Fueled Droughts in Central America Driving Migration, Mexican Feminist & Activist Isabel Cabanillas de la Torre Killed in Juárez, American Journalist Philip Jacobson Faces 5 Years in Prison in Indonesia, U.N. Experts Accuse Saudi Crown Prince of Hacking Jeff Bezos's Phone, Study: Tap Water in 43 U.S. Cities Contaminated with PFAS Chemicals, Trump Admin to Remove Environmental Protections for Waterways, San Francisco District Attorney's Office Ends Cash Bail

Criminalizing Reporting: Glenn Greenwald Faces Cybercrime Complaint After Exposing Scandal in Brazil
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:48:52 -0500
In Brazil, federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against journalist and Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald in connection to a major investigation he spearheaded that exposed misconduct among federal prosecutors and a former judge. Called "The Secret Brazil Archive," the series of pieces published in The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil used a trove of documents to offer new and damning insight into the sweeping anti-corruption campaign that brought down former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and paved the way for the election of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. The investigation used previously undisclosed private chats, audio recordings, videos and other information provided by an anonymous source to expose the wrongdoing of top officials, including Justice Minister Sérgio Moro, who oversaw the anti-corruption crusade known as "Operation Car Wash." On Tuesday, a justice minister filed a denunciation of Glenn Greenwald, claiming he "directly assisted, encouraged and guided" individuals who allegedly accessed online chats related to Operation Car Wash. A judge will now decide whether to press charges. The move has sparked international outrage at what many are condemning as an attack on the free press in Brazil. We speak with Andrew Fishman, managing editor of The Intercept Brasil and reporter for The Intercept.

A Torturer Meets His Victims: CIA Psychologist Defends Brutal Methods at Guantánamo Military Hearing
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:39:33 -0500
On Tuesday, the psychologist identified as the "architect" of the CIA's torture program testified for the first time to the war court at Guantánamo Bay. James Mitchell was in the courtroom for a pretrial hearing for five 9/11 suspects who had been subject to torture, euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation techniques." Mitchell and his partner, Dr. Bruce Jessen, were paid $81 million to help design the CIA's torture methods, including some of the agency's most abusive tactics. The pair had no prior experience in interrogation. At the hearing, Mitchell reportedly told defense lawyers he only came to Guantánamo to testify in person before the families of the 9/11 victims, and at one point told the torture survivors, "You folks have been saying untrue and malicious things about me and Dr. Jessen for years." In 2014, James Mitchell confirmed to Vice News that he personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mitchell also reportedly waterboarded Abu Zubaydah at a secret CIA black site in Thailand. Earlier this month, protesters marked the 18th anniversary of Guantánamo by donning orange jumpsuits and lining up in front of the White House. They later held a mock funeral at Trump International Hotel for those who died at the U.S. detention facility. We speak with Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"The Senate Voted for a Cover-Up": GOP Senators Tilt Impeachment Trial in Trump's Favor
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:32:02 -0500
After the first marathon day leading up to President Trump's impeachment trial, we speak with Vince Warren and Baher Azmy, executive director and legal director, respectively, of the Center for Constitutional Rights. In a 13-hour session, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate approved rules for the impeachment trial that Vince Warren says are tantamount to a "cover-up." Under the rules, each side will be given 24 hours over a three-day period for opening arguments. Senators also agreed to automatically admit evidence from the House inquiry into the trial record. Republicans rejected 11 amendments from Democrats to subpoena witnesses and documents at this stage in the trial.

"Andrew Johnson Was a Lot Like Trump": Echoes of 1868 in Trump's Impeachment Trial
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:13:14 -0500
After a nearly 13-hour marathon session, the U.S. Senate approved by a party-line vote the rules for the impeachment trial of President Trump. This marks just the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. Under the rules, each side will be given 24 hours over a three-day period for opening arguments. Senators also agreed to automatically admit evidence from the House inquiry into the trial record. Republicans rejected 11 amendments from Democrats to subpoena witnesses and documents at this stage in the trial. Democrats were attempting to subpoena documents from the White House, the State Department and the Office of Management and Budget. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke early on Tuesday laying out the Democrats' case for impeachment. "President Trump is accused of coercing a foreign leader into interfering in our elections to benefit himself, and then doing everything in his power to cover it up," Schumer said. "If proved, the president's actions are crimes against democracy itself. It's hard to imagine a greater subversion of our democracy than for powers outside our borders to determine the elections from within." For more, we speak with Manisha Sinha, professor of American history at the University of Connecticut and author of "The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition."

Headlines for January 22, 2020
Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:00:00 -0500
Senate Approves Rules for Trump's Impeachment Trial, Spain Declares Climate Emergency & Readies Climate Legislation, Australian Wildfires Release Massive Amounts of Greenhouse Gas, Airstrikes in Syria Kill 40 People, Including Children, in Idlib, Protesters Denounce Lebanon's Newly Formed Government, U.S. Deports Honduran Children Seeking Asylum to Guatemala Despite Being Ill, Hillary Clinton Slams Bernie Sanders in New Documentary But Says She Will Support Democratic Nominee, Architect of CIA's Torture Program Testifies in War Court at Guantánamo Bay, The Guardian: Bezos's Cellphone Was Allegedly Hacked by Saudi Arabia, Iranian Northeastern University Student Deported from Logan Airport, Arizona: Police Officers Attacked Black Teenager with Developmental Disability, Brazilian Prosecutors File Criminal Complaint Against Glenn Greenwald, First U.S. Case of Coronavirus Confirmed, FDA Issues Warning About Sunscreen, Boeing Stops Production of 737 MAX Plane, Oakland Passes Measure Barring Housing Discrimination Based on Criminal History, Rutgers Names First African-American President in University's 253-year History

Greta Thunberg Addresses Global Elite at Davos: Our House Is Still on Fire
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 08:53:46 -0500
The 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a speech Tuesday to the world leaders and global elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, one year after she first condemned the forum for its inaction on climate change. "We don't need a 'low-carbon economy.' We don't need to 'lower emissions.' Our emissions have to stop," Thunberg said. "And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero."

National Archives Doctored Photo of 2017 Women's March to Blur Messages Critical of Trump
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 08:48:33 -0500
The National Archives and Records Administration apologized Saturday for doctoring a photo of the 2017 Women's March to remove criticisms of President Trump. In an exhibit called "Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote," the National Archives had displayed a large image of the first Women's March. But at least four signs referencing Trump had been blurred to remove his name, including a poster reading "God Hates Trump." Signs in the photo referencing female anatomy were also blurred. The shocking revelation that the archives — which calls itself the country's "record keeper" — had altered the image was first reported in The Washington Post last week. The National Archives initially stood by its decision to edit the photo, telling The Washington Post that the changes were made "so as not to engage in current political controversy." But Saturday, as tens of thousands in Washington, D.C., and across the country took to the streets for the fourth Women's March, officials at the archives were seen flipping over the image at the exhibit as an apology went up in its place. But critics say an apology is not enough. We speak with Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "The job of the National Archives is to record history. Its job is not to manipulate history ... so as to obliterate critiques of the president," Melling says.

Voting Rights Advocate: The Impeachment of Trump Is Needed to Protect Our Elections & Democracy
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 08:29:23 -0500
The impeachment trial begins its proceedings in the Senate today amid accusations of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempting to rush the impeachment process. Senators will have 16 hours for questions and four hours for debate, after 24 hours for opening arguments on each side. We speak with Rick Perlstein, historian and author, and Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Clarke says that thanks to the rules set by McConnell, Trump's impeachment trial could be over within a week, with much of the debate taking place in the evening. The process is designed "to keep the Senate and the public in the dark," she says.

A Show Trial? As Trump Impeachment Trial Begins, Mitch McConnell Accused of Staging a Cover-Up
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 08:17:26 -0500
The Senate opens the third impeachment trial of a U.S. president in the country's history Tuesday, marking a historic day in Washington. Under proposed rules by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, each side will be given 24 hours over two days for opening arguments, after which senators will have 16 hours for questions and four hours for debate. The Senate will then vote on whether to hear from any new witnesses. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said McConnell is trying to rush the impeachment process, while House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, who is one of the impeachment managers, has accused the CIA and NSA of withholding documents potentially relevant to the impeachment trial. This comes as President Trump has added several prominent lawyers to his legal team, including former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, whose probe led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and former Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz. In 2008, Starr and Dershowitz helped serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein receive a sweetheart plea deal when he was arrested on sex trafficking charges. One of Epstein's victims also accused Dershowitz of sexually assaulting her, but Dershowitz has long denied the charge. We speak with Rick Perlstein, historian and the author of several books, including "The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan," which covered the Watergate investigations and Nixon's impeachment.

Headlines for January 21, 2020
Tue, 21 Jan 2020 08:00:00 -0500
Impeachment Trial Opens as Democrats Accuse GOP of "Cover-Up", Trump and Greta Thunberg Address Elites at Davos as Oxfam Condemns Mounting Inequality, NYT Endorses Senators Warren, Klobuchar, as Sanders Gets Backing from Reps. Jayapal and Pocan, Puerto Ricans Call on Governor Vázquez to Resign After Viral Video Shows Unused Emergency Supplies, Attack Kills 100 Soldiers in Yemen, Police Injure Hundreds in Lebanese Anti-Government Protests, At Least 4 Killed, Dozens Injured in Iraq as Popular Protests Mount Nationwide, Racist Treatment of Meghan Markle Highlighted as Plans for "Megxit" Move Forward, 10,000s Attend Pro-Gun Rally in Virginia, Appeals Court Dismisses Landmark Youth Climate Lawsuit Against U.S. Government, Protesters Turn Out for Women's March as National Archives Under Fire for Doctoring Photo of 2017 March, MOVE 9 Member Delbert Orr Africa Released from Prison, Ex-GOP Rep. and Trump Supporter Chris Collins Sentenced for Insider Trading, Oakland #Moms4Housing to Buy Home They Occupied

SPECIAL: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in His Own Words
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 08:30:00 -0500
Today is the federal holiday that honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was born January 15, 1929. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just 39 years old. While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor and organized the Poor People's Campaign to address issues of economic justice. Dr. King was also a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War. We play his "Beyond Vietnam" speech, which he delivered at New York City's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, as well as his last speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," that he gave on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated.

Interpretation Crisis at the Border Leads to Deportation of Mayan-Language Speakers Seeking Refuge
Fri, 17 Jan 2020 08:42:40 -0500
As the U.S. continues to use hostile policies to stop people from seeking refuge and asylum in the United States, we look at a key problem that is preventing migrants from getting due process, and in many cases getting them deported: inadequate interpretation for indigenous asylum seekers who speak Mayan languages. Guatemala has a population of 15 million people, and at least 40% of them are indigenous. In the past year, a quarter of a million Guatemalan migrants have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. At least half of them are Mayan. Many speak little or no Spanish. This is the focus of a new report in The New Yorker magazine titled "A Translation Crisis at the Border." We speak with the article's author, Rachel Nolan, in Guatemala City. We also spoke with Odilia Romero, Zapotec interpreter and a longtime indigenous leader with the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations. Romero is a trilingual interpreter in Zapotec, Spanish and English, who recently developed a training program for indigenous-language interpreters.

4 Years Seeking Justice: Daughter of Slain Indigenous Environmental Leader Berta Cáceres Speaks Out
Fri, 17 Jan 2020 08:22:11 -0500
In Honduras, a new report by the Violence Observatory at the Honduran National Autonomous University says that at least 15 women have been murdered in the first 14 days of this year. Violence against women, LGBTQ people, indigenous leaders and environmental activists has skyrocketed in Honduras under the U.S.-backed government of President Juan Orlando Hernández. The report comes nearly four years after the Honduran indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres was shot dead inside her home in La Esperanza, Honduras, by hired hitmen. Last month in the capital of Tegucigalpa, seven men were sentenced to up to 50 years in prison for her killing in March 2016. At the time of her assassination, Cáceres had been fighting the construction of a major hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River on sacred Lenca land in southwestern Honduras. In November 2018, a court ruled that Cáceres's killing was ordered by executives of the Honduran company behind the Agua Zarca dam, known as DESA, who hired the convicted hitmen. Cáceres won the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work protecting indigenous communities and for her environmental justice campaign against the massive dam in 2015. In December, we sat down with one of her daughters, Laura Zúñiga Cáceres, in Madrid, Spain, where she was receiving a human rights award. "This is a late conviction. It has been almost four years of seeking justice. It is the product of a rather difficult and painful process that has been putting us as victims in direct dispute with a murderous and aggressive state, and they produced the minimum consequences that the state could have given," Zúñiga Cáceres says.

"They Must Conduct a Full and Fair Trial": Senators Sworn In for Historic Trump Impeachment Trial
Fri, 17 Jan 2020 08:09:00 -0500
For just the third time in history, the U.S. Senate has opened a trial to determine if a sitting president should be removed from office. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached President Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the impeachment trial in the Senate, later swore in senators who will serve as jurors when the trial officially begins on Tuesday. This comes as more information is coming to light about the actions of President Trump and his associates. On Thursday, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said the White House Office of Management and Budget violated federal law by withholding $400 million in aid money to Ukraine even though the funds had been allocated by Congress. We speak with attorney John Bonifaz, co-founder and president of Free Speech for People and co-author of "The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump."

Headlines for January 17, 2020
Fri, 17 Jan 2020 08:00:00 -0500
Senate Impeachment Trial Opens as Accountability Office Says Trump Broke Law by Withholding Aid, Pentagon Contradicts Trump and Says 11 U.S. Troops Injured in Iranian Strikes, Senate Votes to Approve USMCA, Report: Six Banks Reaped $18 Billion Last Year from Trump Tax Cuts, Guatemalan Protesters Demand Outgoing President Be Arrested for Corruption, Deported Immigrant Rights Leader Jean Montrevil Sues U.S. Government, FBI Arrests 3 Suspected Neo-Nazis Ahead of Pro-Gun Rally in Richmond, Virginia, Florida Supreme Court Upholds Law Limiting Voting Rights for People with Felony Convictions, Harvard Law Students Protest Law Firm Paul Weiss for Representing ExxonMobil

Tanks & AR-15s: Moms 4 Housing Speaks Out After Militarized Eviction from Vacant Oakland House
Thu, 16 Jan 2020 08:48:06 -0500
We look at the fight for affordable housing in the Bay Area with Moms 4 Housing, the unhoused and insecurely housed mothers who were evicted Tuesday by a militarized police force from a vacant home they had been occupying in Oakland, California. The action ended a two-month standoff between the mothers and real estate developer Wedgewood Properties when sheriff's deputies arrested two mothers and two of their supporters. All four were released on bail Tuesday afternoon. We speak to Misty Cross, one of the moms who was arrested, and her daughter Destiny Johnson. "It was never about trying to stay in that house," says Cross. "The message we were trying to send out was to get people aware of policies and things that are in place that are making us not move forward in life." We also speak to Carroll Fife, the director of the Oakland office for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

We Can't Be Silent Anymore: Rev. Barber & Poor People's Campaign Push Presidential Debate on Poverty
Thu, 16 Jan 2020 08:33:52 -0500
As the final Democratic debate ahead of the Iowa caucuses took place Tuesday night in Des Moines, Iowa, more than 100 protesters gathered outside the debate venue at Drake University to demand a televised presidential debate on poverty. Led by Reverend William Barber, demonstrators carried a coffin to honor the 250,000 people who die every year from the impacts of poverty. According to the Poor People's Campaign, 140 million Americans — over 43% of the population — can't pay basic living expenses. In Iowa, 630,000 workers — 45% of the state's workforce — make less than $15 an hour. We're joined by Reverend William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign and president of Repairers of the Breach. Last night, he and the Poor People's Campaign hosted a mass meeting on poverty in Des Moines. "We cannot enliven the electorate as long as we keep having dead silence on poverty," Barber says. "We've had nearly 30 debates since 2016 alone, and not one of them have focused on poverty."

Putin Proposes Sweeping Changes to Russian Constitution, Possibly Prolonging His Grip on Power
Thu, 16 Jan 2020 08:25:22 -0500
In Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev resigned Wednesday along with his entire Cabinet in a move that surprised many in Moscow and abroad. The move came as Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes to expand the power of the parliament and the State Council while weakening the presidency. Critics of Putin say the proposals could help him keep power after his final presidential term ends in 2024. The Russian parliament is expected to vote today to confirm Putin's pick for new prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, a bureaucrat who runs Russia's tax service. The Russian newspaper Kommersant has described the recent political shake-up as "the January revolution." We are joined by Tony Wood, author of "Russia Without Putin: Money, Power and the Myths of the New Cold War." Wood is a member of the New Left Review editorial board. He is also the author of "Chechnya: The Case for Independence."

Trump Becomes Just Third U.S. President to Face Impeachment Trial as Case Moves to the Senate
Thu, 16 Jan 2020 08:11:50 -0500
In a historic move, the House of Representatives presented articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate Wednesday. It marks only the third presidential impeachment trial in all of U.S. history. Earlier Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a news conference with the seven impeachment managers. The House vote to send articles of impeachment to the Senate comes as The Washington Post reports explosive new information at the center of the impeachment inquiry. New material released by House Democrats shows text messages between former Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and Robert Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate from Connecticut, in which the two have threatening exchanges about Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. In the text messages, Parnas and Hyde discuss how Yovanovitch was under surveillance. Yovanovitch has repeatedly said she felt threatened by Trump, who called her "bad news" in his now-infamous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. For more, we're joined by Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for The Nation. "Pelosi at least thinks or hopes that there will be witnesses, there will be cross-examination, and this will be something more approaching a real trial situation as opposed to kind of just a show," Mystal says.

Headlines for January 16, 2020
Thu, 16 Jan 2020 08:00:00 -0500
House Lawmakers Deliver Articles of Impeachment to Senate, Ex-Giuliani Associate Says Trump Knew of Ukraine Pressure Campaign, U.S. Troops Resume Iraq Operations Despite Parliament's Expulsion Order, Afghan Reconstruction Watchdog Tells Congress of U.S. "Mendacity" and "Lies", Trump Signs "Phase 1" Agreement with China, Easing Trade War, Russian Government Resigns as Vladimir Putin Seeks to Retain Power Beyond 2024, At Least 21 Killed in Idlib Amid Syrian, Russian Airstrikes, Court Blocks Trump Order Allowing Local Leaders to Refuse Refugees, ACLU Sues to End Trump's Policy of Sending Asylum Seekers to Guatemala, Vermont DMV Settles Lawsuit over Helping ICE Deport Immigrant Activists, Virginia Legislature Ratifies Equal Rights Amendment, 2019 Was the Second-Hottest Year on Record, Capping the Warmest-Ever Decade, U.K. Extinction Rebellion Actions Target Fossil Fuel Ties of Siemens, Shell, Virginia Declares State of Emergency as Gun Rights Groups Plan Rally on MLK Holiday

Democrats Debate Wealth Tax, Free Public College & Student Debt Relief as Part of New Economic Plan
Wed, 15 Jan 2020 08:53:41 -0500
At Tuesday's Democratic debate, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg repeated his criticism of plans for tuition-free public college and wiping out student debt, supported by both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Activist and Truthout contributor Alexis Goldstein says the dispute highlights a philosophical split within the Democratic Party. "We essentially have a disagreement between the progressive candidates and the moderate candidates about whether or not we want to pursue a universal benefit for higher education and make it a public good, much in the way that K-12 education is treated as a public good," Goldstein says.

A Modest Improvement or a Deal to Be Rejected? Warren & Sanders Debate New NAFTA Rewrite
Wed, 15 Jan 2020 08:49:18 -0500
Progressive Democratic presidential candidates Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders clashed over their trade policy disagreements as they zeroed in on the U.S., Mexico and Canada trade agreement that is meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. Sanders said the government can do much better. "The heart and soul of our disastrous trade agreements — and I'm the guy who voted against NAFTA and against permanent normal trade relations with China — is that we have forced American workers to compete against people in Mexico, in China, elsewhere, who earn starvation wages, $1 or $2 an hour," Sanders said. "Second of all, every major environmental organization has said no to this new trade agreement because it does not even have the phrase 'climate change' in it." Meanwhile, Warren argued the USMCA "will give some relief" to U.S. farmers and workers. "I believe we accept that relief, we try to help the people who need help, and we get up the next day and fight for a better trade deal," she said. We speak with Julian Brave NoiseCat, journalist and vice president of policy and strategy at the think tank Data for Progress.

In First All-White Democratic Debate, CNN Didn't Ask a Single Question About Immigration
Wed, 15 Jan 2020 08:45:45 -0500
As the federal government plans to divert an additional $7.2 billion from the military budget for the construction of President Trump's promised border wall, and tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Central America, the Caribbean and other regions are stranded throughout the U.S.-Mexico border, CNN moderators failed to question Democratic presidential candidates on border and immigration issues. We speak to Julio Ricardo Varela, co-host of the Latinx political podcast "In the Thick" and founder of Latino Rebels. "Anyone who thinks that a wall is going to protect us, the statistics aren't there. ... But that is what the American people are led to believe," Varela says. "The only way you fight against this is that you challenge that propaganda, because that is what it's becoming. It has become propaganda. And political journalists need to do a better job in challenging what the president says."

Sanders and Warren Openly Spar as Some Progressives Fear Fighting Could Help Centrist Democrats
Wed, 15 Jan 2020 08:28:02 -0500
At Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren openly sparred for the first time when asked about Warren's claim that Sanders told her in a private 2018 meeting that a woman could not win the presidential election. Sanders again denied the accusation when asked about it by CNN's Abby Phillip. Warren maintained her claim. At the end of the night, Warren also apparently refused to shake Sanders's hand. We speak with journalist Julian Brave NoiseCat, activist and Truthout contributor Alexis Goldstein and Larry Hamm of People's Organization for Progress.

Phyllis Bennis on Dem Debate: Support for Combat Troop Withdrawal Is Not Enough to Stop Endless Wars
Wed, 15 Jan 2020 08:12:07 -0500
Six Democratic presidential candidates sparred on Tuesday night in Des Moines, the last debate before the crucial Iowa caucuses. The debate, hosted by CNN and The Des Moines Register, focused heavily on foreign policy and rising tensions with Iran following the U.S. assassination of that country's top military commander, Qassem Soleimani. As the presidential field continues to narrow, the U.S. Senate is preparing for the historic impeachment trial of President Trump, for which Senators Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar are all expected to leave the campaign trail to serve their role as jurors.

Headlines for January 15, 2020
Wed, 15 Jan 2020 08:00:00 -0500
House to Vote to Send Impeachment Articles to Senate, WaPo: Threatening Text Messages Show Yovanovitch Was Under Surveillance, War Powers Resolution Limiting Trump on Iran Could Pass Senate , Six Democratic Candidates Took Stage in Des Moines, Iowa, 5,000 Puerto Ricans Still Homeless After 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake, HRW Blasts China for Human Rights Violations Against Uyghurs & Protesters , 15 Women Murdered in Honduras in First 2 Weeks of This Year, American Citizen Moustafa Kassem Dies in Egyptian Prison After Hunger Strike, Seattle Bans Foreign-Influenced Companies from Political Spending, "Jeopardy!" Apologizes After Claiming Church of Nativity Is in Israel, Not Palestine, Moms 4 Housing Evicted & Arrested in Oakland But Vow to Continue Fight

"Floaters": Martín Espada Pays Tribute to Salvadoran Father & Daughter Who Drowned at U.S. Border
Tue, 14 Jan 2020 08:52:04 -0500
Acclaimed poet Martín Espada pays tribute to Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month old daughter Angie Valeria, who drowned in the Rio Grande river in June 2019 trying to cross into the United States. A photo of the drowned Salvadoran father and daughter caused widespread outrage at the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border and also raised questions about the ethics of exploiting such images in the press. Espada's poem "Floaters" meditates on their passing and its aftermath.

"Morir Soñando": Martín Espada Reads Poem About Luis Garden Acosta, Young Lord & Community Activist
Tue, 14 Jan 2020 08:41:36 -0500
Last week marked the first anniversary of the passing of Luis Garden Acosta, the founder and longtime president of the nationally known El Puente youth and community leadership program in Brooklyn. Long regarded as one of New York City's foremost human rights and Latino community activists, Garden Acosta died last January at the age of 72. A former seminarian who had been active in the Catholic antiwar movement, Garden Acosta joined the Young Lords Party in 1970 and later founded that group's Massachusetts chapter while he was still a student at Harvard Medical School. He went on to pioneer successful nonviolent direct action campaigns against segregated public schools and against environmental racism in New York City. In his later years, together with his wife Frances Lucerna, Garden Acosta created an alternative public high school geared toward human rights activism, the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. To honor his legacy, we speak with the renowned poet Martín Espada. He is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the author of more than 20 books. His latest collection of poems is called "Vivas to Those Who Have Failed."

Moms 4 Housing: Meet the Oakland Mothers Facing Eviction After Two Months Occupying Vacant House
Tue, 14 Jan 2020 08:19:43 -0500
In Oakland, California, a group of mothers fighting homelessness is waging a battle against real estate speculators and demanding permanent solutions to the Bay Area housing crisis by occupying a vacant house with their children. The struggle began in November, when working mothers in West Oakland moved into 2928 Magnolia Street, a vacant house owned by real estate investment firm Wedgewood Properties. The firm tried to evict them, claiming they were illegally squatting on private property, but the mothers went to court and filed a "right to possession" claim, saying housing is a human right. Their name is Moms 4 Housing. The battle for the house came to a head last week when an Alameda County judge ruled in favor of Wedgewood Properties and ordered the mothers to vacate the house. But Moms 4 Housing has stayed to fight eviction. Monday night, hundreds of protesters gathered at the house after receiving a tip that the Sheriff's Office was coming to evict the families — a show of support that led the sheriff to abandon the eviction attempt. We speak with Carroll Fife, director of the Oakland office for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, and Dominique Walker, a member of Moms 4 Housing who has been living at the house with her family. Our interview was interrupted by news of another possible eviction attempt.

GOP Debate on Impeachment Witnesses Intensifies as Pelosi Prepares to Send Articles to Senate
Tue, 14 Jan 2020 08:09:26 -0500
The impeachment trial of President Trump is anticipated to proceed this week, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate as early as Wednesday. The House impeached Trump in December for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to Trump's effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. A growing number of Republican senators are pushing for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on whether to allow witnesses to speak at the Senate trial. The timing of the Senate impeachment trial could impact the 2020 presidential race. Three Democratic candidates — Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar — will have to leave the campaign trail for the trial, which could begin this week. On Monday, Senator Cory Booker dropped out of the race in part because of the time demands of the impeachment trial. We speak with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate.com, where she is their senior legal correspondent and Supreme Court reporter. Dahlia also hosts the podcast "Amicus."

Headlines for January 14, 2020
Tue, 14 Jan 2020 08:00:00 -0500
"It Doesn't Really Matter": Trump Changes Story on Soleimani Killing, Six Democratic Candidates Will Take Stage for Debate in Iowa Tonight, Sanders Refutes Warren's Charge That He Said a Woman Couldn't Win in 2020, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Launching New PAC to Support Progressive Democrats, Trump Plans to Divert Additional $7.2 Billion from Military Budget to Border Wall, Turkey and Russia Broker Ceasefire for Idlib, Syria, France to Send More Troops to West Africa Amid Rising Violence in Sahel, 55 Die in Avalanches in Pakistan, Study: 2019 Was Hottest Year for World's Oceans on Record, AG Barr and Apple Face Off over Phone of Alleged Pensacola Shooter, "Harriet" Star Cynthia Erivo Nominated for Oscar for Best Actress

"Stop the Money Pipeline": 150 Arrested at Protests Exposing Wall Street's Link to Climate Crisis
Mon, 13 Jan 2020 08:44:54 -0500
Nearly 150 people were arrested on Capitol Hill Friday in a climate protest led by Academy Award-winning actor and activist Jane Fonda. Fonda has been leading weekly climate demonstrations in Washington, D.C., known as "Fire Drill Fridays," since October. For her last and 14th protest, actors Martin Sheen and Joaquin Phoenix, indigenous anti-pipeline activist Tara Houska, journalist Naomi Klein and dozens more lined up to get arrested as they demanded a mass uprising and swift political action to thwart the climate crisis. Fonda then marched with supporters down Pennsylvania Avenue to a Chase Bank branch where environmentalist Bill McKibben and dozens of others were occupying the space to draw attention to the bank's ties to the fossil fuel industry. Ten, including McKibben, were arrested. The day of action was the launch of "Stop the Money Pipeline," a campaign to halt the flow of cash from banks, investment firms and insurance companies to the fossil fuel industry. "Let us remember that we are not the criminals," Naomi Klein told a crowd of protesters. "The criminals are the people who are letting this world burn for money."

"America Exists Today to Make War": Lawrence Wilkerson on Endless War & American Empire
Mon, 13 Jan 2020 08:27:25 -0500
Retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff from 2002 to 2005, says the escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran today is a continuation of two decades of U.S. policy disasters in the Middle East, starting with the 2003 run-up to war with Iraq under the Bush administration. "America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is," says Wilkerson. "We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it. And that's the agony of it."

"A System Failure": Iran Admits to Downing Airplane, Sparking Renewed Anti-Government Protests
Mon, 13 Jan 2020 08:13:21 -0500
Iranian protesters have taken to the streets for a third day, after the Iranian military acknowledged it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner last week, killing all 176 people on board, including 82 Iranians and 57 Canadians. Iran initially denied downing the plane, but Iran's Revolutionary Guard took responsibility for what authorities now describe as a "disastrous mistake." The plane was downed hours after Iranian forces fired 22 rockets at military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Millions of Iranians took to the streets last week to pay tribute to Soleimani, but this week anti-government protests resumed in at least a dozen cities. There are reports of Iranian forces firing live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the protesters. Meanwhile, in Washington, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has publicly contradicted President Trump's assertion that Soleimani was planning to attack four U.S. embassies at the time of his assassination. Esper said he had not seen evidence supporting Trump's claim. For more on the Iranian protests, we speak with Ali Kadivar, assistant professor of sociology and international studies at Boston College. Kadivar grew up in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War and completed his undergraduate and first graduate degree at the University of Tehran, where he was active in the student movement.

Headlines for January 13, 2020
Mon, 13 Jan 2020 08:00:00 -0500
Esper Says He Did Not See Specific Evidence Soleimani Was Planning Embassy Attacks, Iran Admits It Mistakenly Shot Down Plane Last Week, Sparking Protests, House Expected to Vote to Send Articles of Impeachment to Senate This Week, Coveted New Hampshire Union SEIU Local Endorses Sanders, White House Press Secretary Under Pressure to Hold Press Briefing, Volcanic Eruption in Philippines Forces Residents to Evacuate Homes, French Government Backing Down on Efforts to Raise Retirement Age, Taiwan: Voters Re-elect President Tsai Ing-wen in Rebuke to Beijing, Malta: New Prime Minister to Be Sworn In, After Journalist's Murder Rocked Government, 2 Iraqi Journalists Killed in Basra; Mexican Radio Presenter Killed in Michoacán, Judge Orders Chicago Police Department to Turn Over Misconduct Documents, "Jeopardy!" Sparks Outrage by Claiming Church of Nativity Is in Israel, Not Palestine, Women Protest Against Accused Rapists Harvey Weinstein & President Trump, South Africa: Transgender Activist Nare Mphela Murdered

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