AlterNet.org: Amy Goodman http://personal.alternet.org/authors/amy-goodman-0 en 'This Is Our War & It is Shameful:' Journalist Andrew Cockburn on the U.S. Role in the War in Yemen http://personal.alternet.org/world/our-war-it-shameful-journalist-andrew-cockburn-us-role-war-yemen <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Even before the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen began more than a year ago, Yemen was ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/yemen_democracy_now.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Now, a year and a half into the war, Yemen’s health system has broken down, and the population is facing the threat of starvation. For more, we’re joined by Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor for Harper’s magazine. His latest piece for Harper’s is headlined "Acceptable Losses: Aiding and Abetting the Saudi Slaughter in Yemen." He is author of <em>Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins</em>.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/22/this_is_our_war_it_is" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: As we continue covering Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, we turn to Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor for Harper’s magazine. His latest piece for Harper’s is headlined "Acceptable Losses: Aiding and Abetting the Saudi Slaughter in Yemen." Andrew Cockburn’s piece begins, "Just a few short years ago, Yemen was judged to be among the poorest countries in the world, ranking 154th out of the 187 nations on the U.N.’s Human Development Index. One in every five Yemenis went hungry. Almost one in three was unemployed. Every year, 40,000 children died before their fifth birthday, and experts predicted the country would soon run out of water. "Such was the dire condition of the country before Saudi Arabia unleashed a bombing campaign in March 2015, which has destroyed warehouses, factories, power plants, ports, hospitals, water tanks, gas stations, and bridges, along with miscellaneous targets ranging from donkey carts to wedding parties to archaeological monuments. Thousands of civilians—no one knows how many—have been killed or wounded. Along with the bombing, the Saudis have enforced a blockade, cutting off supplies of food, fuel, and medicine. A year and a half into the war, the health system has largely broken down, and much of the country is on the brink of starvation." Those the words of Andrew Cockburn, the Washington editor for Harper’s magazine. He joins us now from Washington. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Andrew Cockburn. Talk about the U.S. support for Saudi Arabia and what Saudi Arabia is doing in Yemen.</p><p>ANDREW COCKBURN: Well, the U.S. support has been basically unconditional. I mean, there have been some sort of behind-the-scenes grumbles and efforts to sort of suggest that they might tone it down a bit. But, basically, from the very beginning, the support, as your previous guest was saying, has not only been consisted of supplying arms continually through the—through the war, and certainly before the war, but also fully fledged diplomatic support. I mean, at the beginning of the war, the Saudis effectively sponsored a U.N. resolution, which basically called for the other side, the Houthis, who controlled the capital and large parts of the country, to unconditionally surrender and go back home to the area they came from. The U.S. supported that, which was obviously going to—you know, was no peace—no way to a peaceful solution, was going to continue the war. Later, in about last fall, the Dutch government introduced a resolution saying that the—that there should be an independent investigation of war crimes by both sides, by all sides in Yemen. The U.S., again, effectively worked—took the lead in killing that initiative, to make sure that didn’t happen. In fact, in the course of researching this article, I talked to a very senior State Department official, and I said, "Well, you know, did you do that? Why did you do that?" And he said, "Well, we agreed with President Hadi." President Hadi, of course, is the Saudi pawn, the so-called president, who has been living in Riyadh for most of the war. It’s been—it’s a very shocking story of just how casually we’ve enabled—the U.S. has enabled, not just by supplying the weapons, but by giving diplomatic backup, to this ongoing sort of casual war crime.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: What is Saudi Arabia and the U.S. hoping to accomplish in Yemen?</p><p>ANDREW COCKBURN: Well, that’s a great question. The U.S., it’s not clear at all. The Saudis, basically—I mean, in the article, I go at some length into the sort of background to all this. But basically, they got freaked out at the thought that Iran was establishing a beachhead on their southern border, which was really kind of hysterical paranoia, because Iran wasn’t really doing that. I mean, they were making some kind of connection with the Houthis, who are a religious minority, tribal minority, living in northern Yemen, but there was very little prospect of Iran setting up bases and so on and so forth. And the U.S. just kind of—and so, the Saudis got more and more sort of outraged as the Houthis took power in Yemen, or seemed to be taking over the country. And the U.S. kind of went along with it. I mean, I was told, very early on in the war, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken went to Riyadh to ask the—this is two weeks—yeah, it was two weeks into the war, when they had already been bombing away, using the U.S. bombs, U.S.-supplied bombs, using U.S. weapons, killing already dozens, if not certainly, you know, hundreds of civilians, destroying factories. And finally, Blinken turns up in Riyadh and asks, "By the way, what are you trying to accomplish here?" And the Saudis effectively said, or at least the Americans understood them to say, "Well, we basically want to wipe out the Houthis." Well, they termed it as "end all Iranian influence in Yemen." So, the Americans—Blinken was a bit shocked by that, so I’m told, and said, "Well, you know, that’s going a bit far. But it’s—you should certainly stop the Houthis taking over the country." And that, effectively, gave the Saudis carte blanche to continue this kind of mindless carpet bombing, in effect, that they’ve—that’s been going on almost ever since. There’s been a bit of a lull over the summer, when you had the peace talks going on. But, otherwise, it’s this—and as you mentioned at the beginning, reading the bit in the beginning of my article, this was a desperately poor country, you know, with the terrible conditions. Everyone was—human rights people, you know, humanitarian workers were desperately worried about Yemen before a single bomb was dropped, and now thousands and thousands and thousands of bombs have been dropped, effectively destroying Yemen. They’ve destroyed most of the health system. They destroyed schools. Human Rights Watch did an excellent report pointing out that they’ve attacked—consistently attacked economic targets having nothing to do with any kind of war effort, but like potato chip factories, water bottling factories, power plants. It’s an effort to destroy Yemen. And that’s what, as Kristine said, we are part of that. This is our war, and it’s shameful. I mean, I’ll give you one quick example. Yes, everyone is horrified by Syria and what’s going on there, and quite rightly so. And we’ve had this picture of that poor Syrian child that’s gone viral. Yesterday, The New York Times had one—you know, had a piece saying one—a picture of one Syrian child went viral, but here are seven others, so seven other children that got similarly affected. And I thought, "Oh, maybe they’ll mention a Yemeni." Not so. Syrian other—seven other unfortunate Syrian children. But I defy you to find a single picture in The New York Times or any other mainstream New York media of any of the hundreds, if not thousands, of Yemeni children, because no one really knows how many have been wounded or killed by the Saudi bombing.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Last August, Red Cross President Peter Maurer went to Yemen. He said Yemen, after five months, looks like Syria after eight years—no, he said Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years.</p><p>ANDREW COCKBURN: Yes, isn’t that a shocking, a shocking—I mean, that—we’ve heard so much about Syria, and yet, you know, the Saudis have been on fast-forward—and us—I have to keep reminding us of that. We—our war in Yemen has been on fast-forward. And we’ve, you know, just done devastating damage to the country. And I quote in my piece—you know, I asked a senior State Department official, "What was the Saudi plan when they started this bombing campaign? What was the strategy for the bombing?" And he got a bit exasperated. He said, "Plan? There was no plan. They simply bombed anything and everything." Anything might be a military target. You know, trucks on the highway, that became a military convoy. And when they did find a military target, they bombed it and bombed it and bombed it again. So, it seems indiscriminate, although, interestingly, I mean, we’ve had these recent atrocities of the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital, the fourth one they hit, that they hit last week, plus the schools. But there was another. There was an important bridge, which was a sort of route to carrying food supplies, essential supplies up from the port, up from Hudaydah. They hit that, as a way, you know, effective means of increasing the hunger level and the general distress level in Sana’a. So, this is a very, very, very cruel war that we are helping to wage.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: U.S. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has spoken out against U.S. support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. He was speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper last week.</p><p>SEN. CHRIS MURPHY: There is an American imprint on every civilian life lost in Yemen. Why? Well, it’s because though the Saudis are actually dropping the bombs from their planes, they couldn’t do it without the United States. It’s our munitions, sold to the Saudis. It’s our planes that are refueling the Saudi jets. And it’s our intelligence that are helping the Saudis provide their targeting. We have made a decision to go to war in Yemen against a Houthi rebel army that poses no existential threat to the United States. It’s really wild to me that we’re not talking more about this in the United States. The United States Congress has not debated a war authorization giving the president the power to conduct this operation in Yemen.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Senator Murphy went on to say that Congress can put an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Now, what about this, Andrew Cockburn? Is this about Yemen, or is this simply about President Obama supporting the U.S. arms industry?</p><p>ANDREW COCKBURN: Well, it’s very little to do with Yemen, because we—you know, it’s clear we don’t care about Yemen. I mean, there’s little groups in the State Department and elsewhere who do, maybe. But, no, we don’t care much about Yemen, and we don’t care if we destroy it. What we do care about is the health and well-being of the U.S. arms industry. I mean, I’ll give you a little example: In 2010 or the end of—the U.S. announced, or it was announced that the—the largest arms sale in U.S. history, which was a $60 billion sale of warplanes, of F-15 jets, plus bombs and missiles and missile guidance, bomb guidance systems and all the rest, that they’ve been using ever since. That was—if you look in the Hillary Clinton’s released emails, you will find a sort of round of celebration: good news, a Christmas present. This was all part of the strategy, which the Obama administration has been pursuing since the beginning, of increasing arms sales abroad. And remember, it’s not just, you know, the actual sort of things that we think of of weapons—I mean, the bomber plane, the F-15 planes, the missiles, the bombs. It’s also the whole infrastructure that keeps them going. I mean, I looked into this, the huge contracts that are being—that are in place to service, to keep the whole machine running. Senator Murphy, in his excellent statement, he could have mentioned one other thing, which is the fact that these planes are largely maintained—I mean, what keeps them in the air are the teams of American contract workers who are on the ground. If you look on job search sites, you’ll find job opportunities in Saudi Arabia to service F-15, maintain F-15 planes and everything else that’s required to keep this war going. So, in so many ways, we are part of this, and very profitably so—I mean, not just the $110 billion you mentioned. I believe—I could be wrong, but it’s roughly—we have 7,000 people on the production line at the Boeing plant in St. Louis working on this huge Saudi F-15 order. And I’ve seen a figure that, across the country, in terms of subcontractors doing the bits that go in to make these planes, perhaps as many as another 30,000 or 35,000 workers around the country. This is a huge number of jobs and a huge amount of money. So, in a way, given the sort of values system that we have here today, it’s really no surprise that we’re doing this.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: In June, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon removed the U.S. Saudi-backed—Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen from a blacklist of forces responsible for killing children. Ban Ki-moon later acknowledged he was coerced into removing Saudi Arabia from the blacklist of forces responsible for killing children, after the kingdom threatened to cut off funding to the U.N. This is what he said.</p><p>SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON: The report describes horrors no child should have to face. At the same time, I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would defund many U.N. programs. Children already at risk in Palestine, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and so many other places would fall further into despair. It is unacceptable for member states to exert undue pressure.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That’s U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Andrew Cockburn?</p><p>ANDREW COCKBURN: Well, isn’t that—isn’t this shocking, I mean, that this—that our, you know, supreme international body has to, you know, as it admits, cravenly crumble before this bandit regime, threatening, saying, "Well, if you don’t—if you criticize us for going around killing children, we’re going to starve a few more?" I mean, that is just disgraceful on the strength of it, quite apart from everything else we’ve been talking about, about the weapons. I think they should have been—well, I mean, it’s an absurd joke that they should be on the Human Rights Council, for a start. I mean, it’s really a sick joke that these people should be allowed to say anything about human rights, you know, for all the reasons people know very well, not just what’s going on in Yemen, but everything that goes on in Saudi Arabia, for that matter.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Why is the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia sacrosanct, it seems? And what do you take—what do you think of the media coverage of Saudi Arabia?</p><p>ANDREW COCKBURN: Well, you know, the relationship goes back. I mean, sort of we could go back to when the Saudi Arabia—the Americans sort of forged the alliance, the relationship, in 1945, when Roosevelt met with the king of Saudi Arabia, and they really came to a deal: The U.S. would support the regime and keep this family, who named the country after themselves, the House of Saud, keep them in power—that was the deal—in exchange for a guarantee of cheap oil supplies to this country. I mean, not many people know that, actually, up until 2002, they actually did subsidize the price of oil, you know, Saudi oil that came to this country. There’s other things that go along with it, like overflights, you know, that we wouldn’t—it would be very inconvenient for us sort of to run those huge bases we have in the Gulf, in Doha and Bahrain, if we weren’t allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia, which they—they make it clear that’s a conditional right. Once in a while, I was told by a former ambassador, they refuse permission. So, there’s things like that. But I think, first and foremost, it’s all about money, you know, this $110 billion we’ve been talking about repeatedly, which was only the latest—that’s only under Obama, let alone what’s gone on in previous years, but, you know, the huge amount of money that washes into Washington. You know, there’s been revelations in recent days of the amount the Saudis gave the Clinton campaign, the number of lobbyists in Washington that are on the Saudi payroll. It’s a very—you know, it’s really a relationship sort of lined with gold, that that’s sort of become a matter of habit. You know, that the—you know, I talk in the article about, for example, in just outside Riyadh, there’s a big—quite a big housing compound with several thousand Americans, whose job is—it’s the U.S. military training mission to the Saudi armed forces. And that’s been there permanently since—I think since the early '50s. In fact, it was agreed on at that historic meeting in 1945. It's always run by a two-star Air Force or Army general. The Saudis pay $30 million a year to have this training mission, which is also, as it says in its mission statement on its web—mission statement, its job is to sell U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia. So, you know, it’s a relationship, I think, fundamentally built on arms sales.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to read to you an article, an excerpt, from David Sirota, headlined "Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals from Hillary Clinton’s State Department." Sirota wrote, quote, "In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing—the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15—contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, [this] according to a company press release." Those are the words of David Sirota. Andrew Cockburn?</p><p>ANDREW COCKBURN: Well, I mean, commentary is almost superfluous. I mean, there you have it. The Saudis put $10 million into the Clinton Foundation; the Boeing corporation puts $900,000. In fact, in those Clinton emails I referred to earlier, you know, they’re saying—when they’re all, Clinton and her staff, are celebrating that giant weapons sale, F-15s and weapons sale in 2010, they’re saying, "Get on to the Boeing corporation, and tell them the good news." I mean, it’s—someone once said that the business of the U.S. government is to acquire arms at home and sell arms abroad. And I think this is a very good example of that.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Finally, what do you think needs to happen?</p><p>ANDREW COCKBURN: Well, for a start, we should sort of cut off this—you know, cut off—resign from this war. I mean, you know, as Kristine said, we are part of this war, so we should quit. We should not be supplying any more weapons. We should not be supplying intelligence. We should try—I mean, might be contractually difficult, but we should suddenly cut off the flow of American contract workers, you know, who are servicing these planes. We should make it clear that we’re not part of this. We should also—I think, you know, that the Saudis, of course, will be hysterical about it, but we should make it clear that we are—you know, we are doing that, and we are working—would try and work for a—you know, for some kind of peaceful solution, before there’s anything left of Yemen, which is not much, as far as I can see at the moment, but something, you know, that the Saudi-backed side has to stop demanding the unconditional surrender of the Houthis. On the other hand, the Houthis and their ally, former President Saleh, who, I must say, is certainly no angel himself, have to be given some inducement, perhaps by us working with the Iranians or in some way persuading them that they have to settle for less than maximal success. But we have to stop—we have to quit this war. I mean, it’s unconscionable, what’s going on.</p> Sun, 28 Aug 2016 09:35:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062359 at http://personal.alternet.org World Video World yemen Vijay Prashad: Turkey's Offensive Against ISIS & Press Crackdown Is Really Just War on Kurds http://personal.alternet.org/world/vijay-prashad-turkeys-offensive-against-isis-press-crackdown-really-just-war-kurds <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Syrian Kurdish militias are backed by the United States. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/vijay_prashad_war_on_the_kurds.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>As the United States backs a Turkish military incursion into Syria targeting ISIS-held areas along the border, Turkey says it’s also concerned about Syrian Kurdish militias at the border who are backed by the United States. We look at the conflict, how it relates to the recent thwarted coup attempt, and the government’s subsequent arrests of journalists on terrorism charges with an acclaimed scholar who has followed the region closely for years: Vijay Prashad. He is a professor of international studies at Trinity College and columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline. His new book is "The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution."</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/26/vijay_prashad_turkeys_offensive_against_isis" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: An explosion at a police station in Turkey near the border with Syria has reportedly killed at least 11 people and wounded 70. State-run media is reporting that Kurdish militants were responsible for the attack, but there’s been no claim of responsibility. This comes as the Turkish military has sent additional tanks into northern Syria, intensifying its ground offensive in the ongoing conflict. The U.S. military is backing Turkey’s incursion, which began earlier this week with an aerial bombing campaign. Turkey says the offensive is against ISIS-held areas along the border. But Turkey says it’s also concerned about Syrian Kurdish militias at the border. Those militias are backed by the United States. On Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkish-backed Syrian rebels claimed—reclaimed the Syrian town of Jarabulus from the Islamic State.</p><p>PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN: [translated] As of this moment, Free Syrian Army and residents of Jarabulus have taken back Jarabulus. They have seized the state buildings and official institution buildings in the town. According to the information we have received, Daesh had to leave Jarabulus.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Turkey’s offensive is dubbed "Euphrates Shield," and it’s the country’s first major military operation since a failed coup shook Turkey in July. On Wednesday, the Turkish president, Erdogan, met with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who said the United States supports Turkey’s efforts to control its borders. VICE</p><p>PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We believe very strongly that the Turkish border must be controlled by Turkey, that there should be no occupation of that border by any group whatsoever, other than a Syria that must be whole and united, but not carved in little pieces.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says videos posted to a social media website Thursday depict carnage in the Bab al-Nairab neighborhood of Aleppo, where two barrel bombs were reportedly dropped, killing at least five people. The group also reported additional strikes across Aleppo and its suburbs, saying the dead were mostly women and children.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The strikes came as the United Nations announced Russia has agreed to a 48-hour humanitarian truce in Aleppo to permit aid deliveries, pending security guarantees are met by parties on the ground. The United Nations has been pushing for a weekly 48-hour hiatus in fighting in Aleppo to assist the city’s approximately 2 million people who have been suffering as Syria’s five-year-old conflict continues to take a massive humanitarian toll. A separate United Nations team has concluded the Assad government and ISIS militants carried out repeated chemical weapons attacks in Syria in 2014 and 2015. The report accuses Assad of twice using chlorine gas. It also accuses ISIS of using mustard gas.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: All of this comes as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, are meeting today in Geneva to discuss details of a cooperation agreement on fighting Islamic State in Syria. For more, we’re joined by the acclaimed scholar who has followed the region closely for years, Vijay Prashad. He is a professor of international studies at Trinity College, columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline. His new book is called The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. Professor Prashad’s previous books include Arab Spring, Libyan Winter and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South. Vijay Prashad, welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you in studio.</p><p>VIJAY PRASHAD: Thanks a lot. Great to be here.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s start with what’s happening right now in Turkey, where Vice President Joe Biden just was.</p><p>VIJAY PRASHAD: Well, the situation in Turkey is very dire. As you know, on July 15, there was the failed coup. But the matters in Turkey have unraveled long before this failed coup. You know, the crackdown on reporters has been going on for at least a year and a half, if not longer. The internal politics of Turkey has been in disarray. One of the interesting things about the government of Mr. Erdogan is that, previously, he had started a peace process with the Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK, which the United States and Turkey sees as a terrorist outfit. They had started a protracted peace process called the Imrali process. But this war in Syria has essentially unraveled that peace process, and the Turkish military has gone back on the full offensive against the Kurds in southeastern Turkey, and, as well, as you saw this week, the Turkish army has crossed the border into Syria to stop the advance of Syrian Kurds from creating what the Syrian Kurds call Rojava, which would be a statelet of Syrian Kurds which is right on the Turkish border. You know, the reason that operation is called Euphrates Shield is that the Euphrates runs in that region from north to south. And what the Turkish government would like to see is for the Syrian Democratic Forces, which has a large Kurdish component, to move back east of the Euphrates—in other words, withdraw from Jarabulus, withdraw from Manbij, which they had taken quite—in a celebrated victory, and therefore prevent the creation of this Kurdish statelet called Rojava. On the surface, they say it’s about ISIS, but really this is about the protracted war that the Turkish government has begun again against the Kurds.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But interestingly, you mentioned the failed coup. The New York Times, for instance, is reporting today that Erdogan wanted to go into Syria earlier, but the military was resisting, and it was only as a result of his being able to purge and remove so many top military officers that now he’s been able to do—to effect this incursion. VIJAY PRASHAD: This is likely the case, you know, but it’s also been the situation that this is not the first Turkish entry into Syria. The Turks had entered previously; the Turkish military had. You know, there’s a celebrated shrine, a memorial to one of the founders of the Ottoman Empire, and the Turkish military had entered to secure that monument earlier. Turks had also, of course, kept their border open and had allowed supplies and people to cross the border into various proxy groups, whether it’s Turkish-backed proxy groups, Saudi groups, Qatari groups—and, in fact, the Islamic State. You know, they have used for years the Turkish border. And I think that the sheer instability of the war in Syria has returned, you know, the conflict into Turkey—what the CIA, after the successful coup in Iran in 1953, called blowback. You know, this is, in a sense, blowback against Turkey. So, they have previously entered Syria with the military. They have, of course, supported their proxies. But now, I think, with the gains made by the Kurds, this is as much a political entry as anything. You know, the principal reason, I would argue, that they’ve entered Jarabulus is to stop the creation of Rojava.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Vijay Prashad, and we’re going to continue this conversation after break. Vijay Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College, columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline. His new book is called The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. We’ll talk about, well, Turkey, Syria, Libya, and also the U.S. elections, before we speak with Emma Thompson. The famed actress is now back in Canada after going to the Arctic. Stay with us. [break]</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: "Denizlerin Dalgasiyim," "I am the Waves of the Sea," by Selda Bagcan. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. We’re speaking with Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College and author of a new book. It’s called The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. I want to turn to a novelist who was just arrested. I want to talk about press freedom in Turkey. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that Turkish author and columnist Asli Erdogan—no relation to the president—has written about her treatment in prison since her arrest earlier this month, after the government closed down the newspaper where she worked. She now faces a pending trial on terrorism charges and says she’s been denied medication or sufficient water for five days and is diabetic. She’s one of many journalists and writers who have been arrested on charges of terrorism in Turkey. About 10,000 people have been arrested since the coup, at least that we know, or the attempted coup, though Erdogan, of course, wrested power back. Professor Vijay Prashad, what about Asli?</p><p>VIJAY PRASHAD: Well, look, you know, she is one of the tens of thousands of people who have been arrested under so-called suspicion that she was doing propaganda for the Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK. You know, here’s a celebrated novelist, a journalist for a newspaper whose entire staff pretty much, the editorial staff, has been arrested. Newspapers have been facing a great challenge inside Turkey, and broadcasters. If anybody has questioned the fact that the Turkish government, you know, has been allowing fighters to cross the border, they have been arrested. And this has been happening for the last several years. You know, that’s why I say the failed coup of July 15th has just provided the government with the opportunity to go very deep into its list of those whom it sees as dissenters, and pick them up. But they’ve been going after reporters for years now. Anybody who challenges their narrative of the war in Syria, they consider a threat, and they accuse them of being linked to the PKK. You know, this is one of the simplest ways of delegitimizing somebody, is to say that they are a propagandist for the PKK. And that’s precisely what they’ve said to her. They’ve also held her in solitary confinement. And she has asked to go back into the general population. You know, that’s a—it’s a humanitarian thing, on the surface of it. And also, you know, this is somebody with medical problems, and they’ve denied use of medication and a proper diet. But she’s only one. You know, as you noted, there are thousands of journalists who have been picked up. And sadly, a number of them are Kurdish journalists, independent journalists from the southwestern region of Turkey, who have been picked up.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And you mention the Kurdish Workers’ Party. Clearly, Turkey is a far more developed country than most of the other Middle East countries and, along with Egypt, probably has the largest working class, per se. Has there been any ties between the Kurdish Workers’ Party and ongoing workers’ movements in Turkey among the rest of the population?</p><p>VIJAY PRASHAD: So, the Kurdish Workers’ Party starts, you know, as a principally Kurdish nationalist force, separatist force. But Turkey is an interesting country, because, you know, the largest Kurdish population in a city is not in the southeast, but is in Istanbul. So, you know, about 10 years ago or so, the Kurdish Workers’ Party began to move from the position of secessionism to the position of more rights inside Turkey. And there have been a series of attempts to unite with the Turkish left, various small leftist parties, to create an umbrella party that would both fight for rights of all kinds of people—gays and lesbians, women, workers and Kurds—inside Turkey. And the most recent, you know, party of this kind was the HDP, which had in both elections in 2015—there were two parliamentary elections—did enough—you know, did well enough to block Mr. Erdogan’s attempt to create a presidential form of government. And in a sense, this domestic pressure from the HDP has also upturned the applecart, as far as Mr. Erdogan’s domestic agenda is concerned.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: You know, Joe Biden was just there, the vice president. Turkey, Erdogan has been demanding the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, who is in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Biden wrote a piece in a Turkish paper, and Foreign Policy has said that Turkey has admitted that they have not given evidence that this man was behind the attempted coup. Explain, overall, the significance, for people who have never heard of him. It’s not just about the PKK in Turkey.</p><p>VIJAY PRASHAD: No, it’s not. The PKK provides, I think, the opportunity for the Turkish government to go after a large number of journalists, because many of these journalists that they’ve picked up are people of the left. The purges in the military, in the judiciary, in those sectors, they’ve blamed on people with sympathies to the Gülen movement or been members of the Gülen movement. Now, when Mr. Erdogan came to power in the early 2000s, one of the great fears of this kind of Islamist movement was that they would suffer a coup by the military, that the military, which was largely republican, would go and overthrow them. So, from the very beginning, the AKP party, the party of Mr. Erdogan, has been very careful not to antagonize the military. And through the early years, Mr. Gülen’s movement and Erdogan both collaborated in stuffing their people into the military and into the judiciary. In a sense, this is now a family fight, that the very people that they stuffed into the military and into the judiciary have, of course, now turned on Mr. Erdogan. So he is now purging these people from positions of some authority. So it’s not untrue that the Gülenists are inside the military and inside the judiciary, but they were put there essentially to facilitate the Islamization of these institutions.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the Gülen movement, in one of the bizarre examples of what’s happening in education in the United States, runs the largest charter school network in the United States. They have charter schools across the country, especially in Texas. Is there any indication—and they’re bringing in Turkish educators to come into the United States to work in these schools. Do you have a—have you studied that at all?</p><p>VIJAY PRASHAD: No, I haven’t looked at that, but I’ve read about it. And the interesting feature, of course, is that this charter school movement or this push towards having faith-based schools in the United States is so closely linked to the agenda not only in Turkey, but in Pakistan, in various other places. And, you know, you see the downside of this: the promotion of a kind of theocratic mindset, the promotion of, you know, a lack of appreciation of the diversity of populations, of minorities, of science, you know, things like that. So, of course, the United States—I’m glad you raised this, because the United States is not somehow outside this process. You know, the United States is very much in this process, not only by promoting this overseas, but, of course, by promoting it from Texas to New York. It’s not only Texas, Juan. We like to think of Texas as a sort of, you know, bastion of the American Taliban, but this American Talibanization has been happening everywhere.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to move from Turkey to Saudi Arabia. While Joe Biden went to Turkey, Secretary of State John Kerry went to Saudi Arabia. Talk about Saudi Arabia and what’s happening today and the U.S. role in Saudi Arabia.</p><p>VIJAY PRASHAD: Well, this is actually, I think, the most important meeting. And it’s important that Mr. Kerry went to Saudi Arabia before meeting Lavrov in Geneva. And the reason I say this is that, you know, the Russians, the Iranians and the Americans have now come to the understanding that the process in Syria cannot start with the demand that Mr. Assad has to go. And why I say this is that Turkey has in the last couple of weeks come to the same position. So, the current prime minister of Turkey has quite clearly said that they no longer require Mr. Assad to leave as a precondition for the peace process, but he can stay, as the prime minister said, for a transitional period. The only power in the region, the so-called subjugating powers of the region, that has not accepted this view is Saudi Arabia, and, to some extent, its Gulf Arab allies. You know, Saudi Arabia is fighting an extraordinarily brutal war in Yemen. It is obstinate in that war. It’s made no gains, despite the fact it’s been bombing Yemen for over a year. And, of course, the United States government has continued to resupply Saudi Arabia through this period. So, Mr. Kerry’s—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Engaged in the largest weapons sale in U.S. history with Saudi Arabia.</p><p>VIJAY PRASHAD: Precisely, the largest weapons sale, which Mr. Obama justified on economic grounds, which I thought was the most vulgar thing. In his statement, he said—or his proxy said, his spokesperson said, that this is the largest weapons sale, which benefits most of the states in the United States, because they will have bits and pieces of manufacturing. But the point I just want to make is that for Mr. Kerry to be in Saudi Arabia is important because one of the features that they need to be pushing is that Saudi Arabia needs to now adopt the view that there needs to be a long transitional process in Syria. They cannot demand the Assad—Mr. Assad leave as a precondition. Everybody else has accepted this except Saudi Arabia.</p> Sat, 27 Aug 2016 10:18:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062616 at http://personal.alternet.org World Video World kurds Bernie Sanders Launches New Organization, But Key Staffers Quit in Protest http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/our-revolution-bernie-sanders-launches-new-organization-key-staffers-quit-protest <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Bernie Sanders and his supporters have launched a new political organization called Our Revolution.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/bernie_website.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Bernie Sanders' Our Revolution seeks to support the next generation of progressive leaders, empower millions to fight for progressive change and elevate the nation’s overall political consciousness. More than 2,600 watch parties were held across the country last night to witness Sanders launch the new organization. But reports have emerged of political tumult within Bernie Sanders’s own team. Over the weekend, eight key staffers abruptly resigned in a dispute over the group’s leadership and legal structure. For more, we speak with Larry Cohen, incoming board chair of Our Revolution, and with Claire Sandberg, former digital organizing director for Bernie Sanders’s campaign, who resigned as the organizing director for Our Revolution.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/25/our_revolution_bernie_sanders_launches_new" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Senator Bernie Sanders and his supporters have launched a new political organization. It’s called Our Revolution. It seeks to support the next generation of progressive leaders, empower millions to fight for progressive change and elevate the nation’s overall political consciousness. More than 2,600 watch parties were held across the country Wednesday night to watch Sanders launch the new group</p><p>. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Tonight I want to introduce you to a new independent nonprofit organization called Our Revolution, which is inspired by the historic Bernie 2016 presidential campaign. Over time, Our Revolution will involve hundreds of thousands of people. These are people who will be fighting at the grassroots level for changes in their local school boards, in their city councils, in their state legislatures and in their representation in Washington. Not only that, they will be involved in major ballot items dealing with campaign finance issues, environmental issues, healthcare issues, labor issues, gender-related issues, and doing all that they can, in every way, to create an America based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Former presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders went on to reiterate his concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.</p><p>SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I have worked with President Obama over the years on a number of issues, and he’s a friend of mine. But on the issue of the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, his support—very strong support—for that proposal is dead wrong. I intend—I intend to work with trade unions all over this country, environmental groups all over this country, religious groups all over this country, to do everything that I can, as Vermont senator, to defeat the TPP if it comes up in Congress in the lame-duck session. Now, the TPP, TPP, as is always the case, is supported by Wall Street. It is supported by corporate America. It is supported by all of the big money issues. But I believe that if we stand together, we can, in fact, defeat it.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That was Senator Sanders speaking last night at the launch of Our Revolution. He was in Burlington, Vermont. But reports have emerged of political tumult within Sanders’ own team. Over the weekend, eight key staffers abruptly resigned in a dispute over the group’s leadership and legal structure. That was more than half of the staff. Well, for more, we’re joined by two guests in Washington, D.C. Larry Cohen is the incoming board chair of Our Revolution. He was a senior adviser to Bernie Sanders and past president of Communications Workers of America. He was also the first superdelegate for Bernie Sanders. And we’re joined by Claire Sandberg. She was the digital organizing director for Bernie Sanders’ campaign. On Sunday, she resigned as the organizing director for Our Revolution. Larry Cohen and Claire Sandberg, welcome to Democracy Now! Larry, let’s begin with you. The significance of this new group that has been launched, with 2,600 parties around the country launching it last night? LARRY COHEN: Yeah, amazing. I was at one of the events in Washington, D.C., in a small apartment, totally packed with more than 80 people, incredibly enthusiastic. But just as importantly, as you said, across the country, 2,600 events, another 200,000 people turned in—tuned in on their own to watch the live stream. The enthusiasm for this across the country is amazing. I was in Iowa this weekend with Iowa CCI, a big statewide community organization. The enthusiasm there, across Nebraska, where the new incoming head of the Democratic Party was actually at the same event with me last night, Jane Kleeb, who came in to lead the party on—from the victory in the Nebraska caucus. So, I think it’s, you know, literally from one end of the country to another, activists so enthused about what we can do together.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Claire Sandberg, you were a part of the Bernie Sanders campaign. You were the organizing director for Our Revolution. But right before it launched last night, you and more than half the staff quit. Why?</p><p>CLAIRE SANDBERG: Yes. Well, last Monday, as we were—as the staff at Our Revolution was—I’m sorry, there’s an echo. So, last Monday, as the staff of Our Revolution was preparing for a very busy week, gearing up for the launch event last night, we learned that Jeff Weaver would be stepping in to run, actively manage, Our Revolution, which was a decision that was met with unanimous concern among the entire staff at Our Revolution. And—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Now, Jeff Weaver was the campaign director of Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign.</p><p>CLAIRE SANDBERG: Yes, Jeff was the campaign manager at the organization. And all of us who worked on the campaign who moved over to Our Revolution did so based on the promise that Jeff Weaver would not be involved in Our Revolution or that his role would be strictly constrained as a legal adviser or a board member who would have somewhat of a token role. But it became clear—and so, there were two main concerns among the staff. One, we all saw how Jeff ran the campaign, and there were a number of concerns about that. Secondly, Jeff’s leadership and advice as a legal adviser had already hamstrung Our Revolution before it even launched, specifically Jeff’s decision to constitute the organization as a 501(c)(4), which prevented us from doing effective down-ballot organizing for candidates, also effective down-ballot fundraising. And— AMY GOODMAN: Why is that, Claire?</p><p>CLAIRE SANDBERG: Well, Jeff has gone on the record admitting that he wanted to form the organization as a 501(c)(4) for the express purpose of accepting billionaire money, which of course flies in the face of what all of our supporters were so excited about, that we were taking a country back from the billionaire class without the use of billionaire money, $27 at a time.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Larry Cohen, your response? You’re the incoming board chair of Our Revolution.</p><p>LARRY COHEN: Yeah, the board of Our Revolution will be key leaders from the various movements that make up progressive America, from civil rights, environmental justice, from people who are running for office. And there will be no contributions from billionaires, and I guarantee that. And I think it’s unfortunate that staff left. They’re good people. Jeff has worked with Bernie for 30 years. He’s very close to Bernie. But this—Our Revolution is not about Jeff or me or Claire; it’s about the hundreds of thousands of people that are networked across the country. My job as board chair—the board will be all volunteers—is to support those networks and those people, and to continue the political revolution that we saw in this campaign and that has its ancestry from the many movements in this country.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Claire Sandberg, the idea that it’s larger than any one person, and why you couldn’t be a part of it, moving into the future, given that you so clearly endorse the tenets of the organization, you know, its political philosophy?</p><p>CLAIRE SANDBERG: Yes, and it was an anguishing decision for all of us. And we thought about it for some time. The majority of the staff who resigned did not do so until almost a week later, on Sunday, when seven people resigned. We did that after thinking very hard about it, expressing our concerns repeatedly, saying we didn’t think we could work for Jeff. And I would say that the concerns were really twofold: one, that Jeff—under Jeff’s leadership, the organization would not be well run, given how we saw that he ran the campaign; and secondly, that Jeff wanted to take the organization down this path of accepting billionaire money, and specifically had chosen a legal structure for the organization that had already prevented us from doing effective organizing for candidates like Tim Canova, who has talked about how we have left him hanging, which is true. As the group was formed as a (c)(4), we legally couldn’t coordinate with Canova, couldn’t return his calls, couldn’t mobilize thousands of Bernie supporters locally in Miami or across the country to participate in his field operation, because we couldn’t talk to him. The same thing—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Explain what you mean by this.</p><p>CLAIRE SANDBERG: Well, a 501(c)(4) organization has a number of problems with it. One, federal officeholders cannot be involved in 501(c)(4) organizations. So, there is a real question about whether Bernie could even be involved as a spokesperson, as someone who could send out emails. Secondly, candidates cannot coordinate with 501(c)(4) organizations. We can’t—we can’t have private, nonpublic conversations about, for example, how to mobilize volunteers or what voters we’re talking to. We can’t make sure that we’re not duplicating efforts, calling the same voters twice. We can’t do any of those things.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, Larry Cohen, what about this?</p><p>LARRY COHEN: Well, you know, I’m not going to get into a legal wrangle with Claire. I think the key is that all of us on this board believe that we will mobilize millions of people. We’re not here to run campaigns. That would be a different kind of organization. We will mobilize millions of people against the TPP. We will enable people to donate to campaigns. We will be involved in eight ballot measures that are on the website right now, OurRevolution.com, that range from getting big money out of politics to single-payer healthcare in Colorado. We will be supporting, you know, great candidates, from Pramila Jayapal, who’s running for Congress in Seattle, to people running for school board. So, this is not—none of us on this board, and the design of this is not to run campaigns. The design of this is really to continue the political revolution.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: On Wednesday evening, Senator Sanders stressed the importance of electing progressive candidates at the local level.</p><p>SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: As Americans, our goal must be to elect progressives at every level. And I want to mention just a few of the progressive candidates who Our Revolution will be supporting. And there will eventually be over 100 of them, in every region of our country, candidates from the school board to the United States Senate. Vernon Miller, a Native American, is running for the school board in Nebraska. And let me tell you, we need hundreds of candidates all over this country to run for school board. So I wish Vernon the best of luck. Jane Kim is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and she is running for the state Senate in California. By the way, their state Senate districts are like the equivalent of the entire state of Vermont, so it’s not a small thing, you know. I campaigned with Kim when I was in San Francisco, and she will be a great addition to the California state Senate when she is elected.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That was Bernie Sanders last night in Burlington, Vermont. The Miami Herald has a headline, "Bernie Sanders is a No-Show for Tim Canova," in his South Florida battle against U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Larry Cohen, do you know why?</p><p>LARRY COHEN: You know, I wouldn’t call him a no-show. I mean, Bernie is focused—he hasn’t—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: He just didn’t mention him in this list of people he was talking about supporting, and he was so significant in going after Wasserman Schultz and supporting Canova before the Democratic convention.</p><p>LARRY COHEN: Yeah. Well, again, unless a mistake was made, I’m certain Tim Canova is on the initial list that was put up on the website last night. Huge amounts of money have been raised, you know, directly from donors, but through the emails from the Bernie Sanders campaign and from Our Revolution. Bernie has not campaigned since the convention in Philadelphia for anyone. He is actually writing a book. So I don’t think he’s running away from Tim Canova at all. I think the question is, you know, when does Bernie go back on the campaign trail? That is not what Our Revolution will manage. Again, what we will manage and support are these networks of people that are pushing to reform the Democratic Party, as I mentioned, at the state level, like a Jane Kleeb, at the local level, independents like two candidates running for the Richmond, California, City Council—in many cases, Democrats, in many cases, not. And so, I mean, that’s the story here.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And as we have 10 seconds, Claire Sandberg, what will you go on to do, given you’ve devoted your recent life to the Bernie Sanders campaign and now Our Revolution, before you quit?</p><p>CLAIRE SANDBERG: Myself and the other people who resigned will fight to continue the political revolution however we can, and do the work that we hope to do through this organization in some fashion.</p> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 11:51:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062572 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Video bernie sanders A Shocking Story of How a Chicago Cop Killed a Teen—Then Locked Up His Best Friend for the Murder http://personal.alternet.org/civil-liberties/shocking-story-how-chicago-cop-killed-teen-then-locked-his-best-friend-murder <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The disturbing investigation is unfolding four years later.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/democracy_now__aug_22.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>In 2012, 19-year-old Tevin Louis and his best friend Marquise Sampson allegedly robbed a restaurant. After reportedly making off with about $1,200, the two ran in different directions. Sampson crossed paths with an officer, who gave chase and ultimately opened fire, killing the teenager. Louis arrived at the scene where his friend was shot, and attempted to cross the police line. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. But in a shocking turn, Louis was eventually charged with first-degree murder in the death of his best friend, even though it was the officer who killed Sampson. Louis was found guilty. He is now serving a 32-year sentence for armed robbery and a 20-year sentence for murder. Louis is one of 10 people with similar cases exposed in the Chicago Reader’s new article headlined “Charged with Murder, But They Didn’t Kill Anyone—Police Did.” For more, we speak with the article’s authors: Alison Flowers, a journalist with the Chicago-based Invisible Institute, and Sarah Macaraeg, an independent journalist and fellow with the International Center for Journalists.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/22/a_shocking_story_of_how_a" width="630"></iframe></p> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 09:29:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062358 at http://personal.alternet.org Civil Liberties Civil Liberties Video chicago cop Climate Study: By 2085 All U.S. Cities Except San Francisco Will Be Too Hot to Host Summer Olympics http://personal.alternet.org/environment/climate-study-2085-all-us-cities-except-san-francisco-will-be-too-hot-host-summer <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A new article in the medical journal The Lancet has concluded much of the Northern Hemisphere will be too hot by 2085 to host the Summer Olympics. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/simone_biles_na_rio_2016.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Researchers are projecting only eight cities in the hemisphere outside of Western Europe would be cool enough to host the Games. This includes just three cities in North America: Calgary, Vancouver and San Francisco. The list of cities where it could be too hot is staggering: Istanbul, Madrid, Rome, Paris, Budapest, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles—and the list goes on. Extreme high temperatures have already impacted the athletic world. In 2007, high heat forced the cancellation of the Chicago Marathon. At this year’s U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Los Angeles, 30 percent of the runners dropped out of the race due to the heat. For more, we speak with Kirk Smith, lead author of the article and professor of global environmental health at the University of California, Berkeley.</p><p><em><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/24/climate_study_by_2085_all_us" width="630"></iframe></em></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: The 2016 Summer Olympics may have just ended, but might we be seeing the end of the Summer Olympics for good? A new article in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet has concluded much of the Northern Hemisphere will be too hot by 2085 to host the Summer Olympics. Researchers are projecting only eight cities in the hemisphere outside of Western Europe would be cool enough to host the Games. This includes just three cities in North America: Calgary, Vancouver and San Francisco. The list of cities where it could be too hot is staggering: Istanbul, Madrid, Rome, Paris, Budapest, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles—and the list goes on. Extreme high temperatures have already impacted the athletic world. In 2007, high heat forced the cancellation of the Chicago Marathon. At this year’s U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Los Angeles, 30 percent of the runners dropped out of the race due to the heat. And, of course, this has implications well beyond athletic events. For more, we’re joined by Kirk Smith, lead author of the article, professor of global environmental health at the University of California, Berkeley. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Professor Smith. Talk about what you found.</p><p>KIRK SMITH: Thank you for inviting me today. Well, I’m sitting in Berkeley, which is part of the San Francisco Bay Area, and we often repeat the—what Mark Twain is often reported to say, which is "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." People who’ve been here know it’s cold in—or it’s cool in the summer. This is going to be an advantage in the future as climate change proceeds, because, as you say, those three cities in North America, including San Francisco—San Francisco is likely to be the last place that a Summer Olympics could be held as they’re held today. Now, why is that? I mean, what is it that—why does heat make it hard to have the Olympics? Obviously, it doesn’t make any difference for springboard diving, but it does make a difference for outdoor endurance events, like particularly the marathon, but others. And it’s—although temperature is part of the picture, one of the things that people don’t realize as an impact of climate change is that as temperature rises, it increases the evaporation of water from the oceans and other bodies of water, so therefore humidity goes up, as well. And your ability to do outdoor work is a function not only of temperature, but also the humidity. If it’s 100 percent humidity, even a very low temperature will keep—not allow you to work heavily, because you need to sweat in order to give off the extra heat that your body produces when you’re doing work. So, we took a look at the Olympics in this regard, because we know how they’re run and what kind of, you know, exercise is done. And we took regular climate models that other people are using. We assume the same projection of greenhouse gases that is in the international—the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the current pattern we’re on. We took both a conservative model and a more liberal model, if you like, and averaged them, so we weren’t—couldn’t be accused of cherry picking. And we were surprised to find how few cities in the world were left in 2085—just eight outside of Western Europe, only three in North America. So, of course, we’re not really all that concerned about our most elite athletes. They are very well conditioned. They are very well managed by the physicians on their teams. But it’s the tip of the iceberg. The last line in our paper is: "If we have to worry about our most elite athletes, what about the rest of us?" Because it is the rest of us that are most at risk from these rising heat and humidity. And some, in fact, think it may be one of the—the largest impact of climate change in the next 50 or 60 years will be the change in the ability to do what we’ve always done, doing for 2 million years, is work—work and heavy exertion outdoors. Now, probably very few people listening to this program work all the time outdoors, but 50 percent of the planet does work outdoors all the time, mainly in agriculture and construction. So those professions are more and more challenged, if you like, at certain times of year, as climate change proceeds. The areas of the planet that will be dangerous to conduct that kind of work will grow and grow with climate change. And the Olympics illustrates this. We, of course, published this paper at the time of the Rio Olympics to call attention to the broader problem of climate change changing how we do things.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: You talk about—the report is on the Summer Olympics, your study. What about the Winter Olympics?</p><p>KIRK SMITH: Yes. Well, there was a paper also, based on a report done in Canada, that was published in 2014 just before the winter—the Sochi Winter Olympics. And they did a somewhat similar analysis. They took the 19 sites where there had been Winter Olympics before, and examined how many of them would still be viable for the Winter Olympics in about 2085. And they found that only six of them would still be viable. There, of course, it wasn’t the risk to the athletes from exertion and heat; it was whether there’d be enough snow. And so, they used a 30 centimeters of snow, you know, if you—what’s 30 centimeters? You know, 10 inches or 15 inches of snow is the minimum required for the Winter Olympics. And the same issue. Of course, if—you can get around these things a bit. You can do everything indoors. In fact, more and more, both the Summer and Winter Olympic events have been moved indoors. But it’s a little hard to see how you do downhill skiing indoors. And running the marathon indoors would be a pretty boring event, so—but you can—you could do it. You could do the marathon in January, and—if you like, and that would not be the same Winter Olympics, but there would be ways to adapt your way out of it. The point is that what we’ve been doing for millions of years is no longer possible. We’ve held the Olympics for 2,500 years, you know, a hundred—more than a hundred years in the modern Olympics. And we’ve come to expect certain—you know, certain ways of doing things that are not going to be possible. And in addition, of course, other people do exertion outdoors for sports. I mean, there are hundreds of marathons every year around the world in cities. And as you mentioned, those are starting to be constricted, as well. The Chicago Marathon had to be stopped in the middle. Hundreds of athletes had gone to the emergency rooms around Chicago because of the temperature and humidity had exceeded the limits for athletes. And, of course, it’s the rest of us are more vulnerable than elite athletes, who are very well trained and finish the—you know, the marathon runners in that marathon finished, the highly competitive ones, in a little over two hours. But, you know, three hours later, there were 10,000 other athletes still out in the heat and humidity. So that’s why they had to stop it. So—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, Professor Smith, it’s not only the athletes and then the general population, but the kind of political and social upheaval these—this kind of extreme weather causes. KIRK SMITH: Well, yes. I mean, I think the—we think the biggest impact will be, as I say, among the poor. I mean, climate change, you know, I’ve said before, is the most—excuse me—the most regressive tax in human history, in the sense that, in general, the rich benefit from the use of fossil fuels and the economy that’s run by them, and the poor get the biggest impacts in terms of—I’m a health scientist, so, in terms of health, it’s the poor that’s going to suffer most from climate change. And an illustration of that is the workers who work outdoors, in this case. I mean, in California, for example, in the Central Valley, we already have a few workers who might die from heat exertion every year in the summer. But that will increase, unless something is done. Now, what can be done? You can change work practices—allow people to sit in the shade between 10:00 and 2:00 and drink lemonade. But bosses aren’t—well, you know, aren’t known for that kind of laxity. And so, what happens is there gets to be a very difficult trade-off between expectations on productivity, how much you’re supposed to produce, and health. That’s a difficult trade-off. It’s a pernicious trade-off. We want labor to be more productive, of course, but we also want labor to be protected. And it gets more and more difficult.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Drawing from another sports example, thousands of workers are toiling in extreme heat in Qatar building the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup soccer championships. The International Trade Union Confederation estimates more than 7,000 workers will die before a ball is kicked in the World Cup in 2022.</p><p>KIRK SMITH: Yeah, well, that’s a great example, because some people will respond to this, "Well, 2085 is a long way off. By then, we can all be living in air-conditioned malls. We don’t care about the heat outside. We don’t work outside." But, of course, somebody has to build those malls or those stadiums. Somebody has to repair them. You know, we’re not going to turn into space colonies on the planet Earth. You know, maybe air-conditioned cabs can be developed for farm machinery in rich countries, but they’re not going to be doing that in India in—even in 50 years. So, it’s a set of issues. I mean, the stadium in Qatar will probably be air-conditioned. It’s the only way to protect the people who go to that—who go to those games and the players. But somebody has to build it, and including in the summer.</p> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 10:05:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062491 at http://personal.alternet.org Environment Culture Environment Video olympics climate Day After Obama Tours Louisiana Flood Damage, Gov't Holds Massive Gulf Oil & Gas Lease Auction http://personal.alternet.org/environment/day-after-obama-tours-louisiana-flood-damage-govt-holds-massive-gulf-oil-gas-lease <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">On Tuesday, President Obama visited Louisiana for the first time since the devastating floods that killed 13 people and damaged 60,000 homes.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/obama_louisiana.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The Red Cross has called it the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy. While many climate scientists have tied the historic floods in Louisiana to climate change, President Obama made no link during his remarks. However, on Tuesday, four environmental activists were arrested in New Orleans protesting the Interior Department’s decision to go ahead with a lease sale of up to 24 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas exploration and development. The sale is being held today in the Superdome—the very building where thousands of displaced residents of New Orleans sought refuge during Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago. We speak to Antonia Juhasz, an oil and energy analyst, author of "Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill." She joins us from San Francisco.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/24/day_after_obama_tours_louisiana_flood" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, President Obama visited Louisiana for the first time since the devastating floods that killed 13 people and damaged 60,000 homes. The Red Cross has called it the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy. It also marked Louisiana’s worst flooding since Hurricane Katrina. Some neighborhoods still have up to two feet of standing water left. President Obama spoke in Baton Rouge. </p><p>PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I just had a chance to see some of the damage from the historic floods here in Louisiana. I come here, first and foremost, to say that the prayers of the entire nation are with everybody who lost loved ones. We are heartbroken by the loss of life. There are also people who are still desperately trying to track down friends and family. We’re going to keep on helping them every way that we can. As I think anybody who can see just the streets, much less the inside of the homes here, people’s lives have been upended by this flood.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: While many climate scientists have tied the historic floods in Louisiana to climate change, President Obama made no link during his remarks. But while Obama was speaking in Baton Rouge, four environmental activists were arrested in New Orleans while occupying the headquarters of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management headquarters. They were protesting the Interior Department’s decision to go ahead with a lease sale of up to 24 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas exploration and development. The sale is being held in the Superdome—the very building where thousands of displaced residents of New Orleans sought refuge during Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago. One of the four arrested Tuesday was John Clark, a professor at Loyola University.</p><p>JOHN CLARK: You know, in a sense, I’m doing this for my ancestors, my children, my grandchildren, and that in my lifetime I’ve watched an area of the coastline the size of the state of Delaware disappear, and that it’s very painful to me to think about the fact that my grandchildren and their children will not even be able to live here in the future, because we’re going to lose southeast Louisiana.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the flooding of Baton Rouge and today’s oil and gas lease sale at the Superdome, we’re joined by Antonia Juhasz, an oil and energy analyst, author of Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Antonia. Talk about the connections we’re seeing today, from the protest in New Orleans to the flooding of Baton Rouge.</p><p>ANTONIA JUHASZ: Good morning, and thanks for having me, Amy. So, you know, just the timing of all of these events couldn’t be more devastating, really. So, you have this historic flood. You have the president there to offer assistance from FEMA and to, you know, hopefully try and assist those on the ground, while at the same time the Interior Department is continuing the problems that help excel this storm in the first place, help make it more ferocious, help make these storms more frequent. And that, of course, is the burning of fossil fuels, leading to climate change. President Obama has been very outspoken and, in some cases, aggressive in the needs to tackle climate change, at the same time as expanding offshore oil drilling, expanding the production of oil and gas to new record heights across the United States, but, in particular, right now, most relevant to look at the expansion in the Gulf of Mexico. So, the sale taking place in about two hours at the Superdome for 24 million new acres in the Gulf of Mexico, this sale will complete, if all the leases are sold, all unsold leases in the western part of the Gulf. So that’s basically federal waters offshore of Texas. And these include some ultra, ultra-deepwater leases, so leases that would be at twice the depth of that which BP was drilling when the Deepwater Horizon disaster happened. It’s 4,400 blocks. It’s a big sale, a sizable sale. And there have been—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And for one second, for those who don’t remember, when you talk about the BP Deepwater Horizon, talk about how many people died and how extensive the pollution and the damage was.</p><p>ANTONIA JUHASZ: Well, that would take many hours, because, of course, it was one of the most—the largest offshore drilling oil spill in history. This was April 2010. Five million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, released over a three-month period of time, extensive damage, which I’ve witnessed firsthand from the—in a submarine, at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, to the shores, to the air, to the animals, to the people. And the devastation continues. One of the outcomes of this oil spill was, obviously, a tremendous amount of oil within the Gulf, and it’s estimated that 33—that 30 million gallons of oil remain in the Gulf ecosystem to this day of oil spilled from the BP disaster, April 2010. But that oil has had all kinds—has caused all kinds of problems. One of the problems that it contributed to was the destruction of marsh and the further erosion of the Gulf shore. Now, that destruction of the marshland is a continuation of harm caused by the oil and gas industry over decades that has contributed to coastal erosion, the elimination of marshes, the elimination of wetlands in Louisiana, which makes storms much more ferocious, because those wetlands, those marshes, should be there to suck in the water, as natural sponges, if you will, when water floods onto land. Without that marsh, that was eaten away by oil, without that coastline, that was eaten away by salt, that was allowed to incur on the coastline because of canals built for pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure, the coast isn’t there, and the floods just come in and decimate communities, which we’re seeing more and more of. In addition, there is, of course, the ongoing economic harm that’s suffered by fisherfolk and people who—oil workers, people who live off of the Gulf of Mexico that were harmed by this oil spill. And that, of course, makes dealing with catastrophes even more difficult, because they don’t have the economic backpinnings to deal with this type of catastrophe. And a lot of people, frankly, whose lives were upended because they’ve spent the last six years now organizing to try and stop offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and their lives are focused on doing that, and then they’re hit by these storms, and then, now, that makes it even more difficult to do that type of organizing. So the chain events sort of roll on and on. And one of the biggest problems is that we haven’t—well, while the lessons have been learned from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster—meaning numerous studies, incredible analysis—the policies that are the—that should be the expected outcome of those lessons have not been implemented. So, the Chemical Safety Board, the most important independent investigative body looking at disasters like these, in its most comprehensive analysis of the disaster, said, you know, basically, the chance of another Deepwater Horizon-like disaster is still very likely, and the lessons have not been learned. And a regulatory environment that invites companies to essentially say they can do the right thing, but not have to prove that they can do it, still perpetuates offshore oil drilling in the United States.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: In March, hundreds of protesters disrupted another government auction of oil and gas drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico. The government was attempting to auction off 43 million acres of offshore drilling rights at an event also held at the Superdome, like today’s, in New Orleans. Cherri Foytlin of Idle No More–Gulf Coast spoke out during the protest.</p><p>CHERRI FOYTLIN: I’m standing here with 200 brave souls that are saying no, no to the fossil fuel industry, and yes to a just transition for all of our people. Whoo! We came—we marched up here, maybe 500, maybe a thousand people—I don’t know. But it’s the most amazing thing to see all these people stand together with self-determination and say it’s time for a new day in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s over. The fossil fuel industry, you’re on your way out. Make yourself a bed. You’re done. It’s over. Bye-bye.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, there you have Cherri Foytlin of Idle No More–Gulf Coast saying it’s over. But is it over, Antonia? And what’s the difference between that public auction and what’s happening today?</p><p>ANTONIA JUHASZ: Yeah, so, I was there. That was quite a historic event. You know, really, public organizing against offshore oil drilling is something that is fairly brand new in this size and scale in the Gulf of Mexico. And it’s really been a process over decades of Gulf Coast communities experiencing the harms of the industries, the up-and-downs of the markets for oil workers, as well. And then, of course, the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon disaster have led to this evolution of increased opposition to drilling among Gulf Coast communities. And that protest in the Gulf at the Superdome in March against the last—the previous lease sale was really historic and nearly shut down the sale. So, in response, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is part of the Interior Department, for this sale taking place this morning, for the first time closed the sale to the public. So, the Superdome, which is this enormous facility, is going to have a room with, you know, 50 oil company representatives and 10 oil companies and maybe 20 journalists sitting in a room, and it will be closed to public participation, because they don’t want to see this type of public opposition to the lease sale that they saw in March. It will be viewable online, so people can watch it online if they want, but that means all you can do is, you know, watch what unfolds, not try to participate in the process. And the protest that you mentioned at the opening, at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s office in New Orleans, the like 15 or so Gulf residents and others who showed up to deliver 180,000 signatures on a petition calling for this lease sale today to be canceled, as you said, four of them were arrested because they said they wouldn’t leave until the lease sale was canceled. They were hoping that the Obama administration would start doing in the Gulf Coast what it has done in the Atlantic, which, in its new proposal for the next five years—it’s finalizing a new proposal for offshore oil drilling—new drilling in the Atlantic was taken off the table in that proposal, but offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was expanded. And what the Gulf residents are saying is "We no longer want to be the sacrifice zone for the United States. If it’s good enough for the Atlantic, it’s good enough for us." And they were hoping that this lease sale would be canceled, and, if not canceled, I would imagine, hoping to have the opportunity to be there and be present and show their opposition. And that is not going to be able to be the case.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Antonia Juhasz, we want to thank you for being with us, oil and energy analyst, author of Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill.</p> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:54:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062490 at http://personal.alternet.org Environment Environment Video obama louisiana Embracing the Alt-Right: New Trump Campaign Chief "Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists" http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/embracing-alt-right-new-trump-campaign-chief-created-online-haven-white-nationalists <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Last week, Donald Trump once again upended his campaign team and named Stephen Bannon, the head of Breitbart Media, to be his campaign chief.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/trump_bannon.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Breitbart regularly sparks controversy with headlines such as "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy," "Trannies Whine About Hilarious Bruce Jenner Billboard" and "Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew." In a new article published by Mother Jones, investigative journalist Sarah Posner writes, "By bringing on Stephen Bannon, Trump was signaling a wholehearted embrace of the 'alt-right,' a once-motley assemblage of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ethno-nationalistic provocateurs who have coalesced behind Trump and curried the GOP nominee’s favor on social media." For more, we speak to Sarah Posner and Heather McGhee of Demos.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/24/trump_purports_to_reach_black_voters" width="630"></iframe></p> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:47:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062488 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Video breitbart trump Inaction on Climate Change Could Cost Millennials $8.8 Trillion in Lifetime Income http://personal.alternet.org/economy/inaction-climate-change-could-cost-millennials-88-trillion-lifetime-income <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">A new study has found that without action on climate change, the millennial generation as a whole will lose nearly $8.8 trillion in lifetime income dealing with the impacts of climate change.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/millennials.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>A new study has found that without action on climate change, the millennial generation as a whole will lose nearly $8.8 trillion in lifetime income dealing with the economic, health and environmental impacts of climate change. The study, "The Price Tag of Being Young: Climate Change and Millennials’ Economic Future," was produced by NextGen Climate and Demos. We speak to Heather McGhee, president of Demos and Demos Action.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/24/inaction_on_climate_change_could_cost" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: As we continue to talk about climate change, a new study has found that without action on climate change, the millennial generation as a whole will lose nearly $8.8 trillion in lifetime income dealing with the economic, health and environmental impacts of climate change. The study was produced by NextGen Climate and Demos. Joining us now is Heather McGhee, president of Demos and Demos Action. Welcome to Democracy Now!</p><p>HEATHER McGHEE: Thank you, Amy.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about the economic effects of climate change.</p><p>HEATHER McGHEE: You know, in some ways, it’s somewhat stunning that this study hasn’t been done before, because we know that millennials—I’m sort of one of the older millennials—millennials, us and our children, are going to be the ones, obviously, to bear the brunt of the inaction to address global climate change. We also know that millennials are the first generation likely to be worse off economically than our parents. And so, at Demos and NextGen, we wanted to combine these two issues of the political decisions that have created economic inequality, that have really used the millennial generation as guinea pigs since the Reagan era of cutting back on public investments, of shredding the labor contract, and also combine the story of inequality with the story of climate change, not only in the environmental impacts, but in the economic impacts. And so, we use the methodology from a Stanford and Berkeley study, which used 166 different countries’ historical data over the past 50 years and found the overall GDP impacts of rising temperatures. And for the first time, we looked at that at the household level and said, for just the generation of, you know, a college student that graduated last year, over her lifetime, she would lose $127,000 in lost income. And because we know that lost income isn’t just lost ability to spend today, it’s lost ability to save for tomorrow, we also wanted to look at the wealth impacts. And that was nearly $200,000 in lost wealth.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And explain how that happens, concretely.</p><p>HEATHER McGHEE: Yeah, it happens because this Stanford and Berkeley study showed that rising temperatures—much like the Lancet study, Stanford and Berkeley researchers showed that rising temperatures create lost productivity. And there are, actually, you know, hundreds of different ways that this happens. And they didn’t—this was one of the first studies to actually just look at it from an aggregate level, just say that, you know, whether it’s in production, whether it’s in agriculture, construction, the loss because of extreme temperatures and weather events, all in all, over 166 countries, we can take a step back and say that when temperatures rise over a certain point, GDP falls. And we know that when GDP falls, wages fall, jobs fall. And, of course, that has been the threat economically to millennials that we haven’t ever calculated at a household level, although we’ve known it at a gut level, that there would be a price to pay for inaction today.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: You know, it’s very interesting, because the Republican Party, though there are individual Republican politicians in Congress who do believe that climate change is an issue, overall, are saying it is not an issue. Certainly, Donald Trump says it is a hoax. In fact, I want to go to Donald Trump talking about the issue of climate change earlier this year.</p><p>DONALD TRUMP: President Obama said the biggest threat to our country is global warming. That’s called give me a break. OK? The biggest threat to our country is nuclear. And we cannot let Iran get a nuclear weapon.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, he has called climate change a hoax, saying, among other things, it’s a Chinese conspiracy. But this issue, you’re really talking about building up a debt. And debt certainly is a concern to Republicans.</p><p>HEATHER McGHEE: Right.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: This is a climate debt.</p><p>HEATHER McGHEE: That’s right. It’s a climate tax, which seems to be a concern to Republicans. It’s a wallop to our GDP. The Stanford and Berkeley study said that by 2100 our GDP would be 36 percent lower than it would be if we took action on climate change. Those are supposed to be concerns of conservatives. And you’re already seeing it in non-fossil fuel businesses, which are already starting to make this transition. They understand that there is a massive economic cost to inaction and, on the flip side, that there is a great economic opportunity by transitioning to 100 percent clean energy. We know that the millennial generation is 91 percent supportive of transitioning to 100 percent clean energy. The only things that’s going to make the difference between crisis and opportunity is more democracy.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And what would that look like?</p><p>HEATHER McGHEE: That would look like, really, a World War II-style mobilization, both of our politics and of our economics, of all of us saying that there is actually a better way, that we can recreate our economy and put those communities that have been last in line in a fossil fuel economy first in line in a new clean energy economy.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: How?</p><p>HEATHER McGHEE: We can use technology that’s existing today. I mean, that’s one of the things that makes people feel like it’s all very hopeless, the idea that we have to, you know, land a man on Mars in order to have 100 percent clean energy. But through existing technologies, we can do it. We can do it building on the progress that the Obama administration has made with the Clean Power Plan from the EPA and Paris. And, of course, we need to get more aggressive than those compromised steps forward. In California, they’ve done something that makes sure that the money, the revenue, that comes from polluters is actually targeted to the lowest-wealth communities in creating jobs, public transit, efficiency. Efficiency of buildings is going to be a massive part of how we get to clean energy, and that saves working families on their energy bills, and it puts people to work in the buildings in their community.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, Heather McGhee, we’re going to link to your report, NextGen/Demos report on climate change and millennials. But I’d like to ask you to stay with us, as we transition to the "alt-right." What does that mean? We’re talking to Heather McGhee, the president of Demos and Demos Action. We’ll be back in a minute.</p> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:43:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062487 at http://personal.alternet.org Economy Economy Environment Video climate Standing Rock Sioux Chairman: Dakota Access Pipeline "Is Threatening the Lives of My Tribe" http://personal.alternet.org/activism/standing-rock-sioux-chairman-dakota-access-pipeline-threatening-lives-my-tribe <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">In North Dakota, indigenous activists are continuing to protest the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which they say would threaten to contaminate the Missouri River. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/democracy_now_august__23.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>More than a thousand indigenous activists from dozens of different tribes across the country have traveled to the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, which was launched on April 1 by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The protests have so far shut down construction along parts of the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has also sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over its approval of the pipeline. For more, we’re joined by Dave Archambault, chairperson of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He’s in Washington, D.C., where there is a hearing in the tribe’s lawsuit on Wednesday.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/23/standing_rock_sioux_chairman_dakota_access" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to look at North Dakota, where indigenous activists are continuing to protest the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which they say would threaten to contaminate the Missouri River.</p><p>INDIGENOUS ACTIVISTS: Respect our water! Respect our lands! Honor our treaties! Honor our rights!</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: More than a thousand indigenous activists from dozens of different tribes across the country have traveled to the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp. The protests have so far shut down construction along parts of the pipeline. Protesters have included Debra White Plume, an Oglala Lakota water rights activist.</p><p>DEBRA WHITE PLUME: The need to protect this water has grown way beyond Standing Rock. I’m Oglala and Northern Cheyenne. Many red nations are here. Many more red nations are coming. We put the call out for water protectors to come, land defenders to come. And the word "resistance" is being used. And sometimes we have a problem with the English language, deciding which word to use, but if we just listen to our spirits, we’re here to protect sacred water. People will come from all along the river to protect the river that they belong to.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, has also taken part in the protests against the Dakota pipeline. Banks also was part of the 1973 Wounded Knee standoff.</p><p>DENNIS BANKS: What’s happening here is equally as important, because of the stand that you’re ready to make. When they threaten the environment, they’re threatening you. We are part mountain. We are part ocean. We are part river. We are part flower and grass and tree. All of this, we are part of all of it, so that when they threaten the environment anyplace, they’re threatening you. You have to be in that mindset like that. That’s who you are. That’s who we are. And our culture, our heritage is what has made us warriors.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That was Dennis Banks. We’re joined now by Dave Archambault, the chair of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who’s joining us from Washington, D.C. Chairman, thanks very much for being with us. Can you explain for us what this whole controversy is about?</p><p>DAVE ARCHAMBAULT: There’s a lot of different components that all lead up to one, and it is a pipeline that is threatening the lives of people, lives of my tribe, as well as millions down the river. It threatens the ancestral sites that are significant to our tribe. And we never had an opportunity to express our concerns. This is a corporation that is coming forward and just bulldozing through without any concern for tribes. And the things that have happened to tribal nations across this nation have been unjust and unfair, and this has come to a point where we can no longer pay the costs for this nation’s well-being. We pay for economic development, we pay for national security, and we pay for energy independence. It is at our expense that this nation reaps those benefits. And all too often we share similar concerns, similar wrongdoings to us, so we are uniting, and we’re standing up, and we’re saying, "No more."</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain what exactly the Dakota Access pipeline is and how it ended up going through your land?</p><p>DAVE ARCHAMBAULT: Dakota Access pipeline is a pipeline that goes 1,200 miles, taking Bakken crude oil from the northwest side of North Dakota down to Illinois. And we were brought—made aware of this in 2014. And our biggest concern was it was—it crossed the Missouri River twice, once north of—once in Lake Sakakawea and once north of our reservation. And right away, when we first learned of it, we said, "We don’t want this. We don’t want it here." But it’s a private pipeline from a private company out of Dallas, Texas. And so, there’s a big corporation, Energy Transfer Partners, out of Dallas, who are making decisions for the state and for North Dakota, for my reservation, and they have no sensitivity or no acknowledgment of what is in place. All they see is dollar signs and greed. So we are not happy with this private-based company. There are portions of this pipeline that cross federal lands, like water, and so they have to get permits, but they get easements on private property. And the private landowners who do not approve of the pipeline, there’s the eminent domain taking. So, the landowners where the pipeline crosses kind of have their hands tied. But in the federal permitting process—and it’s like, of the 1,200 miles, 200 waterways, maybe 300 miles are on federal lands. That’s what we’re saying: If we can’t do anything on the private lands, we’re going to ask the federal agencies to reconsider and take a look at this, because we never had the opportunity to express our concerns.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to Debra White Plume, an Oglala Lakota water rights activist, speaking at the Sacred Stone camp.</p><p>DEBRA WHITE PLUME: We’re putting a call out for warriors to come here to do direct action, to stop them from boring under this water, because that’s going to contaminate it. We can’t stand for that. We can’t let that happen. I, for one, made a commitment. They’re going to have to kill me, or they’re going to have to lock me in jail, but I’m going to stand to protect the sacred water. And I’m guided by spirit.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So that’s Debra White Plume, who participated in the 1973 standoff in which members of the American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee to demand their treaty rights. She called for focus in the action at Sacred Stone.</p><p>DEBRA WHITE PLUME: I understand that rage. I fought with cops before. I’ve been shot at by police. I’ve been shot by police. We got it on with the police on Pine Ridge back in the day. So I understand that rage. But when we’re here together to protect sacred water, let’s do it with dignity, let’s do it with training, let’s do it with unity.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, Chairman Dave Archambault, explain what this camp is, where it is, and how many people are coming out to it, and how the state is responding.</p><p>DAVE ARCHAMBAULT: This camp is along the Cannonball River, close to the mouth of Missouri River. And the camp is—started out in April of 2016 as a prayer camp. And the prayers have been answered. There has been power in prayer. And it opened the eyes to everybody that, through prayer and unity, great things can happen. Since the—about two—the demonstrations started, more and more people began coming and showing overwhelming support for this, and we had to anticipate large masses of people coming, so we occupied a space just north of the Cannonball River off the Standing Rock Reservation, which is core land, and it’s on a nice flat. Right now what’s going on is it’s about peace, and it’s about prayer, and it’s about uniting. And there’s a really good feeling, if you were to walk through the camp. There are no guns, no violence, no drugs, no alcohol. And it kind of took a life of its own. It evolved into something very special. The state, on the other side, has taken action, which there’s no cause for. They created a barricade just south of Mandan, right before you get into Fort Lincoln, Custer’s park. It’s about 25 miles north of the camp. And this barricade creates a hardship for the members who live on Standing Rock. The state also removed its emergency assistance vehicles, that we initially got to establish and accommodate large masses of people. AMY GOODMAN: You were arrested there, Chairman?</p><p>DAVE ARCHAMBAULT: Yes, I was.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to play Morton County, North Dakota, Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier’s comments, claims he made that there have been reports of weapons at Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, and get your response.</p><p>SHERIFF KYLE KIRCHMEIER: It’s turning into an unlawful protest with some of the things that have been done and has been compromised up to this point. We have had incidents and reports of weapons, of pipe bombs, of some shots fired.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s the sheriff. Dave Archambault, your response?</p><p>DAVE ARCHAMBAULT: There never was any shots fired. There never were any pipe bombs. There were never any incidents of unlawful activity taking place. When you have a large mass of people in an area, especially with social media, you have Facebook, that can create rumors. And I would ask that the sheriff and the governor validate any rumors that they come across, before they make haste decisions to create a blockade or to declare a state of emergency or to remove any of their emergency assistance vehicles. I understand they have safety concerns, but you just have to be present at the camp, and you’ll see that it’s a peaceful place, and there are happy people who share a common prayer. And that is—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Chairman, can you explain the lawsuit?</p><p>DAVE ARCHAMBAULT: So, what we’re filing a lawsuit on is the destruction of our ancestral burial sites and never being given the opportunity to protect them, as well as the nationwide permitting process. Rather than permitting the project as a whole and doing a full EIS, the Corps of Engineers asked that they permit chunks and pieces of it. And they require an EA. Now, the EA is less intensive as the EIS, so they’re able to kind of do unlawful things, that—such as destroy our sites that are sacred to us. We don’t agree with the fact—they’re going to say they had consulted with us on this matter. To us, consulting doesn’t mean corresponding through letter or mail, or it doesn’t mean presenting us a final draft of what you’re going to do. Consulting, to us, would mean that we need to have deliberation and share our concerns and hope that they hear us and see a reflection of our concerns in the final plan. None of that has taken place. We asked for consultation prior to any final drafts and to survey the routes to make sure that none of the sites that we cherish would be destroyed. It’s not until after they finalized what they want to do, this Dallas-based company who is doing the EA for the Corps of Engineers tells us how or where they’re going to go. Now they come and invite us to do surveys, and we don’t think that’s right. We think it’s unlawful, and we think it’s unjust.</p> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:08:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062418 at http://personal.alternet.org Activism Activism Video indigenous activists Hate Crime in Tulsa: Khalid Jabara's Family Speaks Out After His Murder by Racist White Neighbor http://personal.alternet.org/civil-liberties/hate-crime-tulsa-khalid-jabaras-family-speaks-out-after-his-murder-racist-white <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">In Oklahoma, funeral services were held Friday for Khalid Jabara, a Lebanese-American man police say was shot dead by his next-door neighbor in a possible hate crime. </div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Police say Stanley Majors will be charged with first-degree murder for Khalid Jabara, Majors has harassed the Jabara family for years. The August 12 killing came less than a year after Majors was arrested and jailed for hitting Jabara’s mother with his car while she was jogging. At the time, the mother, Haifa Jabara, already had a restraining order against Majors, after he had threatened and harassed her. But eight months later, Majors was released on $60,000 bond even though Tulsa County prosecutors called him "a substantial risk to the public.” For more, we speak with Khalid’s brother and sister, Rami Jabara and Victoria Jabara Williams.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/23/hate_crime_in_tulsa_khalid_jabaras" width="630"></iframe></p> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 08:58:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062417 at http://personal.alternet.org Civil Liberties Civil Liberties Video hate crime As Kerry Plans to Visit Saudi Arabia, Activists & NGOs Demand U.S. Stop Funding War Crimes in Yemen http://personal.alternet.org/world/kerry-plans-visit-saudi-arabia-activists-ngos-demand-us-stop-funding-war-crimes-yemen <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Saudi Arabia as the Obama administration is facing increasing pressure for its support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/obama_saudis.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>100,000 people gathered in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a Saturday to protest the ongoing Saudi strikes and in support of Houthi rebels. Over the past two weeks, the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition has bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 19 people, and bombed two schools in northern Yemen, killing at least 14 children. Doctors Without Borders has since announced it will withdraw staff from six hospitals in the north of the country. For more, we’re joined by Kristine Beckerle, a fellow at Human Rights Watch. She has just returned from Yemen.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/22/as_kerry_plans_to_visit_saudi" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Saudi Arabia as the Obama administration is facing increasing pressure for its support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen. This comes as up to 100,000 people gathered in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a on Saturday to protest the ongoing Saudi strikes and in support of Houthi rebels. Over the past two weeks, the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition has bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 19 people, bombed two schools in northern Yemen, killing at least 14 children. Doctors Without Borders has since announced it will withdraw staff from six hospitals in the north of Yemen. After another Saudi airstrike east of Sana’a on Tuesday that killed nine, survivors spoke out against the Saudi bombing.</p><p>SURVIVOR: [translated] The air force bombs. It bombs our sons and our daughters, our men and our friends. Why are they doing this? What have we done to them?</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: According to the United Nations, more than 3,700 civilians have been killed in the Yemeni conflict since Saudi Arabia launched its offensive in March of 2015. The United States has been a key backer of the Saudi military bombing. Earlier this month, the U.S. approved the sale of more than $1 billion of new weapons to the Saudis. Since taking office, the Obama administration has approved more than $110 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. While Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Saudi Arabia, pressure is growing over the Obama administration to cut off support for the Saudis. Bills have been introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate to cut off funding to Saudi Arabia. Last week, The New York Times and The Guardian editorial boards called for the U.S. and British governments to end their support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. In an editorial titled "America is Complicit in the Carnage in Yemen," The New York Times wrote, quote, "Congress should put the arms sales on hold and President Obama should quietly inform Riyadh that the United States will withdraw crucial assistance if the Saudis do not stop targeting civilians and agree to negotiate peace," unquote. To talk more about the situation in Yemen, we’re joined by two guests. Kristine Beckerle is just back from Yemen. She’s a fellow at Human Rights Watch. And in Washington, D.C., Andrew Cockburn is with us. He’s Washington editor for Harper’s magazine. His latest piece for Harper’s is headlined "Acceptable Losses: Aiding and Abetting the Saudi Slaughter in Yemen." He’s author of Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins. We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s begin with you, Kristine. Talk about what you saw in Yemen.</p><p>KRISTINE BECKERLE: So, we were there basically as peace talks were breaking down and before the scaling up in the coalition airstrikes. But even then, sort of even though there was a, quote-unquote, "ceasefire," violence was continuing sort of across the country, including coalition airstrikes. And I think the thing that really stuck out to me on this trip was that when you talked to sort of activists, members of the Houthi or sort of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s political party, the way in which they would talk about this war was not just the Saudis bombing Yemen or a Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen; it really was the Saudis and Americans bombing Yemen. And if you just sort of drive through the streets of the capital, there’s graffiti everywhere sort of saying, "American bombs are killing Yemeni civilians." And as I returned to the U.S., basically in the days that followed, the U.S. then approved the arms sale that you spoke of, and then we see the Saudi-led coalition bombing a school, a hospital, a potato chip factory. And so, I think the thing that really stuck out to me is that these things are not being lost on Yemenis. And Yemenis said to me, as soon as the arms deal was approved, "What is this? Why is this being approved?" So I think the thing that I’ve sort of been trying to raise repeatedly is that the U.S. is not just selling arms to Saudi, and that’s that; what they are doing is they are signaling and, in fact, supporting the Saudi-led coalition in this ongoing campaign, which has been devastating for civilians.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And what do you understand John Kerry is going to do in Saudi Arabia?</p><p>KRISTINE BECKERLE: So, I think the thing that I would hope John Kerry would do—I don’t know if he, in fact, will do that—is that he would raise with the Saudi-led coalition the fact that even though they have said that they will change their behavior, the behavior has obviously not changed, because this last week has been devastating, for sure, but it builds on a year and a half worth of conflict where these things are not even sort of rare anymore, which is really troubling. So, you talk about, OK, we’ve seen a school and a hospital being hit, but the U.N. found that in the first year of conflict the Saudi-led coalition was guilty of half the attacks on schools and hospitals that it documented. You talk about an MSF, or Doctors Without Borders, hospital being hit. This is the fourth time a Doctors Without Borders hospital has been hit. And I think the thing that’s quite striking is, the Saudi-led coalition will then say to the U.S., "OK, well, we’re investigating." And they actually released sort of initial results from some investigations a couple of weeks ago. And in those investigations, they looked at two strikes where they hit Doctors Without Borders hospitals. And then you have them, two weeks later, hitting another hospital. So we’re not seeing a change in behavior that we would need to see to feel as though they were actually serious about complying with the laws of war. But I think, then, the last thing I’ll say on this is that it’s not just about John Kerry saying to the Saudis, "Clean up your game." It’s about John Kerry talking to the Saudis about the fact that the U.S. itself is a party to this conflict. So it’s not just that the U.S. is selling weapons; it is that the U.S. is providing such crucial support and such substantive support that it itself is at war in Yemen. And so, it really isn’t a conversation of John Kerry pointing a finger at the Saudis, but it should be a conversation about the U.S. and the Saudi-led coalition are routinely violating international law in Yemen, so how are we going to stop this?</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, how can—how can Kerry or Obama point the finger at Saudi Arabia? They just approved a $1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia?</p><p>KRISTINE BECKERLE: Exactly. And that’s—and I think that’s my concern. So, even, for example, a couple days ago, Reuters had a report saying that U.S. advisers were being pulled out of Riyadh and that they were going to move to Bahrain. But what hasn’t happened is any sort of clarity as to what the U.S.'s actual role is in this ongoing campaign. And it's sort of unacceptable for the U.S. to say the Saudi-led coalition—"We’re concerned about Saudi-led coalition violations in Yemen," like you say, when they continue to approve arms sales, but not only that, when they continue to refuel coalition jets on bombing campaigns, when they continue to provide intelligence support.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the weapons used.</p><p>KRISTINE BECKERLE: Yeah, so, for example, in one of the most egregious strikes that Human Rights Watch documented and the U.N. documented, it was on a village in northern Yemen, Mastaba market. And in that village, Human Rights Watch researchers went, and they found remnants of U.S. bombs in that market. And in that market that was hit, we recorded 97 civilians having been killed, and maybe 10 Houthi fighters were killed, but, even still, that’s very clearly disproportionate. And of the 97, 25 kids were killed. And these are, again, U.S. bombs used in this attack. Human Rights Watch has also found U.K. bombs, to be fair, so it’s not just the U.S. whose weapons are being used unlawfully. And I think the thing that is very clear to us is that people are sort of collecting these remnants after the attacks happen, and then it’s not that difficult sometimes to see who actually sold the bombs, because they’ll still have barcodes or information on the weapons themselves. And sort of—so, for the U.S. to say, you know, "We’re concerned about continuing violations," when they’re the ones giving the bombs, when they’re the ones refueling the planes, when they’re providing intelligence support, when they’re either sitting in Riyadh or Bahrain and they’re providing sort of continued assistance to this campaign, it’s—again, it’s not about pointing the fingers at the Saudis. It’s about saying what is your role in this campaign, and how are you going to sort of investigate the strikes that have already happened, where U.S. personnel may have been involved.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And what about the U.S. doing investigations? A spokesperson for the U.S. Central Command, which oversees American operations in the Middle East, told The New York Times last week the U.S. has not conducted a single investigation into casualties, civilian casualties, in Yemen.</p><p>KRISTINE BECKERLE: That’s incredibly concerning, because, again, it is an international legal obligation for a party to the conflict to do investigations in any strike where there are credible allegations that war crimes may have been committed and its forces may have been involved. So the fact that the U.S. is sort of continually booting it to the Saudis is just not acceptable in terms of an international legal analysis and in terms of the way in which the U.S. also—it’s required based on international law, but it also should be required for American people, right? Like, there is—they should have the right to know the way in which the U.S. has been involved in this war. And the way in which the U.S. should be dealing with this is doing investigations into a year-and-a-half conflict where unlawful strikes are routine and where its level of support is both unclear but seems to be quite substantive. So, again, it’s an obligation, and they should be doing it, because it’s—the lack of transparency, I think, that Americans have had on this war over the last year and a half is quite alarming.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: What is Human Rights Watch calling for, finally?</p><p>KRISTINE BECKERLE: Human Rights Watch has been calling for the U.S. to do investigations into any strikes in which its personnel have been involved for a long time. We’ve also been calling for a long time for the suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is why the most recent announcement is troubling to us, because we’ve been saying for quite some time that continuing to sell arms to the Saudis is signaling support for what is going on in Yemen. And it’s not just the U.S. we’re calling for that; we’re calling for the U.K., France, the sort of big powers that continue to sell arms to the Saudis. We’re also calling for the Saudis to be suspended from the Human Rights Council, because, speaking of investigations, one of the things that we have said for a long time is that it’s not just the Saudi-led coalition in this war that’s violating human rights. We’ve documented and written about the Houthi rebel group also violating numerous sort of human rights and international legal standards, including using land mines, child soldiers, etc. So what we’re saying is, what we really need is an international investigation into violations by all sides. The vehicle that sort of tried to do that last year was the Human Rights Council, but it was blocked. And what ended up happening was they said, "OK, we’re going to make a Yemeni national commission to do investigations." But as we’ve seen sort of over the last year, that national commission has been basically quite one-sided and hasn’t really done the work it would need to do to meet international standards. So, what we’re saying is, one, Saudi-led—Saudi Arabia has no place on the Human Rights Council at this point.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: The U.N. Human Rights Council.</p><p>KRISTINE BECKERLE: The U.N. Human Rights Council. And second, what the U.N. Human Rights Council should be doing is creating an international investigative body into violations by all parties to this conflict.</p> Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:54:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062362 at http://personal.alternet.org World Video World john kerry Dave Zirin: Brazilians are Fed Up with U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte and Privileged First-World Tourists http://personal.alternet.org/world/dave-zirin-brazilians-are-fed-us-olympian-ryan-lochte-and-privileged-first-world-tourists <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Ahead of the final weekend of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian police have accused a group of U.S. Olympic swimmers of vandalism during an incident at a gas station last weekend.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/dave_zirin.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Brazilian police are now considering whether to recommend charges against the group of U.S. Olympic swimmers, including gold medalists Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen. The swimmers said they were robbed by gunmen impersonating police officers in the early hours of Sunday as they returned in a taxi to the Athletes Village from a party in the city. However, after an investigation, Rio police said there had been no robbery. U.S. Olympic authorities later apologized to Brazil after two U.S. swimmers who were kept in the country for questioning were allowed to go home. We are joined by Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine, whose recent article is headlined "Ryan Lochte is One of Many Privileged First-World Tourists—and Brazilians are Fed Up."</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/19/dave_zirin_brazilians_are_fed_up" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to the Olympics, which are heading into the final weekend in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian police have accused a group of U.S. Olympic swimmers of vandalism during an incident at a gas station last weekend and say they are now considering whether to recommend charges against them, including gold medalists Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen. The swimmers said they were robbed by gunmen impersonating police officers in the early hours of Sunday as they returned in a taxi to the Athletes Village from a party in the city. However, after an investigation, Rio police said there had been no robbery. This is the head of Rio de Janeiro’s civil police, Fernando Veloso.</p><p>FERNANDO VELOSO: [translated] At this exact moment, what the police can say is there was no robbery the way the athletes reported. They were not victims of the criminal facts that they described. The police can say that now. In theory, they can be charged with giving false testimony and vandalism—in theory. They stopped at the gas station. They went to the toilets, as the images showed. And one or more than one—we are still investigating that—started vandalizing inside the toilets of the gas station.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: U.S. Olympic authorities later apologized to Brazil after two U.S. swimmers who were kept in the country for questioning were allowed to go home. U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said in a statement, quote, "We apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence." The incident was just one in an Olympic Games plagued by everything from green pools to empty seats. Brazil is also battling an economic recession, a massive Zika outbreak and the recent ouster of its democratically elected president, Dilma Rouseff. Human rights organizations have also expressed concern about the impact of the Games on Rio’s most vulnerable communities.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: But the Olympics were not without success stories. Thursday night, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt dominated the men’s 200 meters final, clinching his eighth Olympic gold medal. Brianna Rollins led the American women in sweeping the 100-meter hurdles Wednesday. And the so-called Final Five women’s gymnastics team, the most diverse team ever to represent the U.S., concluded their run in Rio with an historic nine medals. To talk more about the Rio Olympics, we’re joined by Dave Zirin. He’s back in Washington; he was just in Rio. He writes for The Nation magazine. His recent article, "Ryan Lochte is One of Many Privileged First-World Tourists—and Brazilians are Fed Up." He also is the author of Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy. Dave, talk about the Lochte scandal.</p><p>DAVE ZIRIN: No, absolutely. And we do have breaking news on this, in addition to what you’ve already reported. Jimmy Feigen, one of the two swimmers along with Lochte who was probably going to be charged for making false statements to the police and vandalism, has been released. He’s on his way home. In return, he had to give an $11,000 charitable donation to a foundation called Reaction, that attempts to use judo and sports as a way to bring favela kids into the mainstream of Rio. It’s the place that Rafaela Silva, the Brazilian judoka from the City of God favela, that’s where she trained, as well. And that might sound small to some folks, but in a city where the business leaders, the construction leaders and the real estate leaders want a Rio without favelas, and have built these exclusion games, where the favelas are under occupation, any monetary ability to give anything helps. So Jimmy Feigen is on his way back to the United States. As for Ryan Lochte, he could still be indicted in absentia for making false statements and vandalism. But at the same time, it would be for a misdemeanor, and it’s not the sort of thing that would require any sort of extradition. So, the criminal part of this is largely done. But I got to tell you, having just returned from Rio, the anger about this is not going anywhere, because Ryan Lochte has done the impossible: He’s managed to unite people in Rio who are both against the Olympics and people who are for the Olympics, because it’s very paradoxical down there, because, on the one hand, you know, I spoke to teachers, I spoke to people who depend on Brazil’s ramshackle medical system, and people are, of course, furious about the fact that billions of dollars are being spent to put on these Games at a time when there is so much economic and social upheaval in the country, when the country is mired in its worst recession in decades. But paradoxically, there is a lot of pride in the fact that people are kind of holding this together, that volunteers, that low-wage workers are somehow keeping this together and holding the kinds of Games that can have the kinds of events, Amy, that you described, that can create these kinds of moments. And to have Ryan Lochte and friends literally and figuratively urinate all over their efforts, and also be the kind of stereotype of the ugly American who believes there is no sin below the equator, who exploits people’s biggest stereotypes about Rio and crime, and attempts to leverage the fact that they’re wealthy and white and Olympians and could somehow just blame it on the brown people, get on a plane and go home, what it manages to do is touch every nerve in Brazilian society right now and create a kind of bizarre unity of Brazilians, who are saying, "Wait a minute, we deserve a lot better than this for the effort that we have put in to staging these Games under unendurable circumstances."</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Dave, I wanted to follow up on that, because obviously this scandal had two periods. There was the early narrative, that was reinforcing, well, Rio is a place of criminality, the athletes aren’t safe, for the first couple of days, until the actual story came out, and now there’s been a reversal. It reminded me very much of—people may have forgotten—more than, I guess, 30 years ago now—</p><p>DAVE ZIRIN: Charles Stuart?</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: No, Bobby Knight—</p><p>DAVE ZIRIN: Oh, Bobby Knight, yeah.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —when Bobby Knight was down in Puerto Rico with the U.S. team in the Pan American Games, and he ends up getting arrested because he assaulted a police officer there, and then gets—and then flees the country and becomes, really, a pariah in Latin America as a result.</p><p>DAVE ZIRIN: Yeah, Bobby Knight, a Trump supporter. Bobby Knight, oh, so, yeah, he assaulted a Puerto Rican police officer. And then, as he said later, he proudly mooned the entire country as the plane was taking off. It’s that kind of ugly American stereotype that helps nobody. And fulfilling that stereotype certainly helps nobody. And I’ll you who it’s also really upset, is that, you know, when I was down in Rio, I met a ton of people from the United States who were trying to do the right kind of work. They’re trying to do favela support. They’re trying to help train people with independent media, organizations like Catalytic Communities. When you have an American behave like this, behave with this kind of unfettered privilege, what it does is it affects everybody who’s actually trying to do the right work and build solidarity. And that’s why this is more than just like this kind of small story of Americans behaving badly. I’m sure that’s what Ryan Lochte thinks it is. His comments on this have all reflected a kind of brain-deadness about the international incident aspect of this. But for people who are down there, for people who actually have to deal with police violence, for people who have to deal with a very real thing in Rio, which is police actually robbing you, for people in the favelas who have to deal with police violence, to have wealthy Americans, the people who are most likely to be protected by police, to tell a story about being robbed by police, that also—that manages to offend people who fight police corruption, and also people who are defending the way that Rio has been able to create a secure Games, even though rumors beforehand said that these would be some of the least secure Games in history.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what about that, Dave? How has Rio managed to pull off these Games? Now we’re heading into the last weekend. We only have about 30 seconds.</p><p>DAVE ZIRIN: They’ve been able to pull off the Games through—basically, through Scotch tape, hard work and unpaid labor. A report was out today that the day laborers working in the Olympic Village make only $15 a day, yet IOC officials get per diems—that’s spending money—of $900 a day. So people are doing it only out of a sense of national pride at this point. And to have their efforts just absolutely slapped around by Ryan Lochte and friends as if they’re somehow less than human, believe me, that really touches the third rail of Brazilian identity.</p> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 10:15:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062239 at http://personal.alternet.org World Video World olympics Former Iran Hostage Shane Bauer: Claim That $400M U.S. Paid to Iran was Ransom Deal is "Absurd" http://personal.alternet.org/world/former-iran-hostage-shane-bauer-claim-400m-us-paid-iran-was-ransom-deal-absurd <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">According to the State Department’s statement, a plane filled with $400 million in cash for Iran was &quot;leverage&quot; to ensure that five American prisoners held by Iran were released.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/iran_obama.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Republicans, including Donald Trump, have said the money sent in to Iran January was a ransom for the American prisoners. The Obama administration says it was a pre-planned transfer that was part of the landmark nuclear deal and that the negotiations regarding the two issues were separate. We speak with Shane Bauer, a Mother Jones reporter 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 while hiking near the unmarked Iran-Iraq border and then freed after negotiations.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/19/former_iran_hostage_shane_bauer_claim" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: But, Shane Bauer, we want to stay with you for one more moment, but on a different issue. I want to ask you about the recent developments in Iran. In addition to your recent reports for Mother Jones, in 2009, you spent more than two years in Tehran’s Evin Prison, four [months] of them in solitary, after you and two other Americans—now your wife, Sarah Shourd, and Josh Fattal—were captured while hiking near the unmarked Iran-Iraq border. You recount this in your book, A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran. This is a clip of you speaking shortly after your release.</p><p>SHANE BAUER: The only explanation for our prolonged detention is the 32 years of mutual hostility between America and Iran. We were convicted of espionage because we are American. It’s that simple. No evidence was ever presented against us. That is because there is no evidence and because we are completely innocent.</p><p>JOSH FATTAL: Many times, too many times, we heard the screams of other prisoners being beaten, and there was nothing we could do to help them. Solitary confinement was the worst experience of all of our lives. It was a nightmare that Sarah had to endure for 14 months. In all the time we spent in detention, we had a total of 15 minutes of telephone calls with our families and one short visit from our mother—our mothers. We had to go on hunger strike repeatedly just to receive letters from our loved ones.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, this week, the State Department said a plane filled with $400 million in cash for Iran was "leverage" to ensure that five other American prisoners held by Iran were released. Republicans, including Donald Trump, have said the money was ransom for the prisoners. The money was sent to Iran in January. The Obama administration has said the money was a pre-planned transfer that was part of the landmark nuclear deal, and that the negotiations regarding the two issues were separate. But State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted the negotiations had been linked, to some extent.</p><p>JOHN KIRBY: We were able to conclude multiple strands of diplomacy within a 24-hour period, including implementation of the nuclear deal, the prisoner talks and the settlement of an outstanding Hague tribunal claim, which saved American taxpayers potentially billions of dollars. As we said at the time, we deliberately leveraged that moment to finalize these outstanding issues nearly simultaneously.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That $400 million had been owed to Iran since the 1970s, when the U.S. refused to send weapons Iran had already paid for following the Iranian revolution. Now, Shane, we’re wondering your response to this news and the latest controversy over whether this money was actually ransom, given your situation and how you ultimately got out of Iran.</p><p>SHANE BAUER: I think the claim that this money was a ransom is absurd. Like you said, this money had been owed to Iran since the time of the overthrow of the shah. You know, this was a pre-existing negotiation, and pegging—using this as leverage to get Iran to release the prisoners is exactly what should have been done. You know, I could easily see criticism from the opposite direction from Republicans, saying, you know, "What if the Obama administration had not done this, and left these prisoners sitting in there and not included them in negotiations?" I mean, that would be way more ridiculous.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Actually—actually, that was Donald Trump’s criticism of the Iran deal. Early on, when the Iran deal was struck, he said this is pathetic, if, included in this, the prisoners do not get released.</p><p>SHANE BAUER: Exactly. I mean, these criticisms are ridiculous, in my opinion. And I think, you know, when I had been in prison, there had not been, as far as I know, much in terms of negotiations between the U.S. and Iran. And the fact that the administration moved towards this and including these prisoners in those negotiations is exactly the right thing to do.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: How, ultimately, did you get out, Shane?</p><p>SHANE BAUER: I had been released, as well as Sarah and Josh, through negotiations with Oman. Oman had actually initiated these negotiations themselves. They were interested in easing tensions between the U.S. and Iran, and in ultimately moving towards a nuclear deal. They made trips to Iran and to D.C., and kind of went back and forth bringing offers from each side. And after our release, that avenue, that had been created through our situation, was the way that the U.S. and Iran began nuclear talks, before they were publicly negotiating.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, Shane, thanks so much for being with us, Shane Bauer, award-winning senior reporter at Mother Jones. His recent piece is about his undercover investigation of private prisons, called "This Prisoner Hanged Himself at the Private Prison Where I Worked. His Family Says He Didn’t Have to Die." It’s part of this amazing series he did, "My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard," which chronicles his time undercover as a correction officer in Louisiana’s Winn Correctional Center. But Shane also wrote the book, together with Sarah and Josh, called A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran. When we come back, we’ll talk about the Olympics, the controversy there and some of the records that have been broken. Shane, thanks so much for being with us. Stay with us.</p> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 10:03:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062236 at http://personal.alternet.org World Video World iran hostage Private Prisons May Be Phased Out, But Industry Leaves Trail of Bodies from Medical Neglect & Abuses http://personal.alternet.org/civil-liberties/private-prisons-may-be-phased-out-industry-leaves-trail-bodies-medical-neglect <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">News that the Department of Justice will phase out 13 private prisons sent stocks plummeting on Thursday.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/proxy_democracy_now_prisons.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Democracy Now! looked at Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group and Management and Training Corporation's track record with Shane Bauer, whose 18-month investigation of a CCA prison for Mother Jones recently took up its entire issue. Titled "My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard," it chronicles his time as an undercover correctional officer at Louisiana’s Winn Correctional Center. His most recent article is titled "This Prisoner Hanged Himself at the Private Prison Where I Worked. His Family Says He Didn’t Have to Die." We are also joined by reporter Seth Freed Wessler, who investigated several CCA prisons for the federal government that are now set to close.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/19/private_prisons_may_be_phased_out" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: We are talking about a historic decision, an announcement out of the Justice Department to close the federal government’s contracts with private prisons. Shane Bauer is with us, an award-winning senior reporter at Mother Jones, as well as Seth Freed Wessler, an investigative reporter, and Democracy Now!’s Renée Feltz. But, Shane, we want to turn to you right now. We last had you on, just a little while ago, based on this remarkable issue of Mother Jones magazine that you wrote as an undercover prison guard you acted as in Louisiana. Your most recent article, "This Prisoner Hanged Himself at the Private Prison Where I Worked. His Family Says He Didn’t Have to Die," this based on your four-month investigation as a private prison guard. Talk about your reaction to this news and what actually happened to this prisoner you spoke of.</p><p>SHANE BAUER: Well, this news is certainly unprecedented and surprising. I mean, the findings of the Inspector General’s Office are not surprising. They’re consistent with findings from the Department of Justice over the years, from, you know, reports by journalists. They’re consistent with things that I saw at Winn in Louisiana. But, you know, this measure is certainly bigger than anything I expected. As far as Damien Coestly, Damien was somebody who I had met while I was working at Winn. And after I left the prison, I learned that an inmate had committed suicide and that, you know, it was Damien Coestly. Damien was somebody who was very troubled. He, over the years, reported being suicidal. He also had been trying to change the way that CCA provided services, mental health services. At that prison of 1,500 inmates, there was only one part-time psychiatrist, one part-time psychologist and one full-time social worker. Damien had been trying to get into mental health programs; he had been waitlisted for two years. And he frequently went on suicide watch. And just to describe briefly what that is, it’s a solitary confinement cell, where a prisoner is naked, has only a tear-proof blanket. He’s given worse food, food that falls below USDA standards, and usually has no reading material or anything whatsoever in his cell. So this is the mental health services that Damien had. Damien went on hunger strike to try to get better mental health services. And eventually, Damien was put on suicide, and he was taken off, even though he was still claiming to be suicidal. He was not checked on the way that he was supposed to. And from what I saw at Winn, this was standard procedure. And he hung himself. And at the time of Damien’s death, he weighed 71 pounds.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Shane, you mentioned this happened in a CCA prison.</p><p>SHANE BAUER: Yeah.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you about the role of CCA in particular.</p><p>SHANE BAUER: Yeah.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: After the DOJ announced Thursday that it would no longer use private prisons, stock prices for Corrections Corporation of America and GEO both plunged about 40 percent. But a financial analyst at Canaccord Genuity said, quote, "The massive falloffs in the stocks imply the risk will spread to other federal, state and local jurisdictions. ... We believe it is unlikely. As such, we think today’s stock action is more based on fear than actual cash flow risk," unquote. But in June, the CEO of Corrections Corporation of America, Damon Hininger, told a forum of investors that his firm will be, quote, "just fine," no matter who is elected to the White House this fall. This is him speaking. DAMON HININGER: We’ve had some nice growth in our business under those three respective presidents. We had a lot of growth under Clinton, we had a lot of growth under Bush, and we’ve had a lot of growth under President Obama. And so, with that, if we continue to do a good job on the quality, and, with that, we can demonstrate savings, both on capital avoidance but also cost savings in our services, then I think we’ll be just fine.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Damon Hininger, CEO of Corrections Corporation of America, just in June. Talk about this company. How did it rise, and its role within this general federal prison contracting?</p><p>SHANE BAUER: Well, CCA and GEO both, you know, started operating prisons in the 1980s. This was a time when the prison population was skyrocketing. States were trying to build prisons to take up, you know, some of that increased population, and they couldn’t build them fast enough. And CCA stepped in and said, "Look, we’ll operate prisons. We’ll also build prisons. We’ll run them more cheaply. And, you know, we’ll be helping you deal with this overcrowding problem." So they kind of, you know, had—there was a need for them at one point. And their argument now has consistently been that they’re saving money. And this is questionable, as the Department of Justice inspector general pointed out. But what’s important is that the—you know, to look at how they’re saving money. The main way that they save money is through staffing costs. The prison that I worked at, guards were paid $9 an hour. This was $3.50 less than the starting pay of guards at state-run facilities. Medical costs—you know, the company at the prison I worked, they had—if they sent a prisoner out for medical care, they had to bear that cost, so there’s, you know, a lot of resistance to sending prisoners out to the hospital. They had less mental health staff. There were days that I came into work where there were 24 guards for 1,500 prisoners. This is far below what their contract requires. And this problem has been found throughout CCA’s state and federal prisons. The inspector general has made reports on their audits showing that in one prison, where there were riots in the prison, that the riot was caused by understaffing and poor medical care. After they issued the report, they went back and found that that problem had not been corrected. This has happened in several states, as well. And, you know, I think, to your question about how this is going to affect the states, I think it remains to be seen, but what I did see at Winn is that the company was under a lot of pressure by the state at that time to kind of get its act together, to improve security, improve healthcare, prevent escapes. There had been escapes while I was there. You know, the question is: How consistent is this throughout the country? But I certainly had a sense, from inside that one prison, that the company was struggling to try to hang onto it.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Shane, in your remarkable investigation, where you went undercover at the Winn Correctional Facility, again, run by CCA, the Corrections Corporation of America, you met a prisoner who had lost his fingers and legs because of inadequate medical care. We want to go to a clip from one of the videos that accompanied your report for Mother Jones.</p><p>ROBERT L. MARRERO: Gangrene. Mr. Scott complained about that for months to the medical staff at Winn. They gave him some—the equivalent of a couple of Motrin and told him to go away.</p><p>ROBERT SCOTT: Never saw a doctor. The whole time.</p><p>SHANE BAUER: He’s now suing the prison.</p><p>JENNIFER CALAHAN: The people that are working there as nurses and all that, they’re really not that qualified.</p><p>ROBERT L. MARRERO: There are doctors they can hire. There are doctors who are more or less affordable. I did some background checking on them, and one of them was a pediatrician who had lost his privileges to treat children.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Corrections Corporation of America said it’s, quote, "committed to ensuring that all individuals entrusted to our care have appropriate access to medical services as needed." Now I want to turn to a clip from our other guest Seth Freed Wessler’s report, that also deals with substandard medical care at private prisons. This is part of his interview with Dr. John Farquhar, the former clinical director at the Federal Correctional Institution in Big Spring, Texas, which is run by The GEO Group. It was featured on Reveal, a podcast from the Center for Investigative Reporting.</p><p>DR. JOHN FARQUHAR: There are times when I was critical. I’m a critical person, starting with myself.</p><p>SETH FREED WESSLER: You actually wrote at one point, "I feel bad for his shabby care."</p><p>DR. JOHN FARQUHAR: Well, I stand by that statement. I don’t know who it’s about, and I can’t comment on any single record of any person, but there are times when the care was not what I wanted for any patient, period.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That’s Dr. John Farquhar, the former clinical director at the Federal Correctional Institution. Seth Freed Wessler, weigh in here.</p><p>SETH FREED WESSLER: Well, I talked to medical workers, doctors, physician’s assistants and nurses who work in this subsystem of federal prisons that will now begin to be shut down. And across the board, they said that they were pressed to cut costs. That particular doctor said that his corporate bosses, soon after he got his job as the medical director, had come to town to tell him to cut down on the number of 911 calls made, because they were expensive. In that very prison, shortly after he left his job, a prisoner died after suffering a stroke, and the prison decided to just leave him in his cell until morning. The only medical worker on the shift that night was a licensed vocational nurse with about a year of training. And across the board, these prisons are operating with deep understaffing, using undertrained workers. And I found stories in 30,000 pages of federal records I obtained through an open records request, an open records lawsuit—I found stories of people who went months, even more than a year, in some cases, seeing only nursing staff, often only licensed vocational nurses, complaining of increasing pain, increasing illness, until they became so ill that they died inside of these prisons. What’s remarkable about the documents that I obtained and the interviews I did with people who work in these prisons, as well as letters from prisoners who later died, is that the Bureau of Prisons knew for years about the very problems that I’m talking about. After the Bureau of Prisons set up this subsystem of federal private prisons, they actually established a monitoring system, an oversight system, hired monitors to go in and check on these facilities. And those monitors would flag repeat and systemic failures, especially in medical care, over and over again, send those flags to Washington in hopes that something would change. In fact, when those flags went up, federal officials in Washington refused to impose the fines, the full penalties available to them. And when monitors tried to shut down federal prisons that were failing, the top officials in the Bureau of Prisons in Washington actually refused to let those monitors shut these prisons down. So, the decision today about—rather, yesterday, to shut down these private prisons comes as a great surprise, because monitors have been saying for years these prisons are failing, documenting these problems, the very same problems, in some cases, that the inspector general found in its report and that I found in my reporting. Now, finally, these facilities are going to start being closed as their contracts come up for renewal.</p> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:55:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062233 at http://personal.alternet.org Civil Liberties Civil Liberties Video private prisons As Feds Close Prisons Run by Private Companies, Will They Do Same for Immigrant Detention Centers? http://personal.alternet.org/civil-liberties/feds-close-prisons-run-private-companies-will-they-do-same-immigrant-detention <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The DOJ’s announcement that it will phase out federal prisons operated by private prison companies will have no direct impact on private immigrant detention facilities, which are operated by the same companies under contracts with the Department of Homeland Security. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/s3detentioncenter.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Detention Watch Network has now called for DHS "to follow suit and break their ties with private prison companies that operate more than half of ... U.S. immigrant detention facilities as a step towards ending detention completely." We get more details from Democracy Now! correspondent Renée Feltz, who notes the detention centers hold people who have committed civil offenses, and children as young as two years old.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/19/as_feds_close_prisons_run_by" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I want to bring in also Renée Feltz. You’ve been covering a lot of these issues with the private prisons, especially in terms of immigrants across the country. This only affects the federal prisons; it does not affect those detention—private detention facilities run by Homeland Security or even by the states themselves, who contract—many of the states contract with these private companies. Now, the Detention Watch Network has called on the DOJ to have this policy also for the the Homeland Security network. Can you talk about that?</p><p>RENÉE FELTZ: Well, that’s right, Juan. And it’s important to understand that this policy shift will not impact immigrant detention centers. Many people think about the prisons that will be impacted, that Seth described, because they are immigrant-only facilities—essentially, separate but equal prisons—that he helped to expose. But we want to be clear that this decision from the DOJ is not going to impact anything that has to do with DHS, Department of Homeland Security. However, that is sort of where the momentum is here. People are saying if there are flaws with how private prison operators, accused of shortcuts, run federal facilities under one agency, what about under another agency? Something else that I think is important to distinguish here is that—</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Because it’s the same companies, more or less, running them.</p><p>RENÉE FELTZ: Right, it’s Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group, primarily. They run the private prison contracts that are going to be ended by the DOJ. They also have the contracts for the immigrant detention centers, which are largely privatized, but not all. Now, one thing I also wanted to mention is, you know, we talked about the federal prisons that are closing that hold so-called criminal aliens—that’s what the government calls them. They are largely accused of crossing the border, being charged with a misdemeanor, and then, after a few times of that, being convicted of a felony for that same offense. So they are in prison for crossing the border without permission. It seems like an immigration offense, but it’s not. Once they get done with that sentence, they then go on to immigrant detention. And one thing that is interesting about immigrant detention centers is that not everyone there has this prior criminal background. We’re talking about people who largely are committed of civil offenses, coming to the country without permission—no crime, but held essentially in a controlled environment with barbed wire, guards. And what’s interesting recently at these privately run immigrant detention centers is that the Obama administration has brought back family detention centers. So we’re talking about CCA and GEO, who have shortcomings in Federal Bureau of Prisons, running a facility where children as young as two years old are being held with their parents.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: For example, talk about the Berks facility.</p><p>RENÉE FELTZ: That’s right. Right now, Berks facility in Pennsylvania, which is run, interestingly, through a contract with the county and ICE, not even with a private entity, is also having problems being accused of holding immigrants there for way too long. There’s a mandate to hold them for about 20 days maximum, if they hold children. The women there are on a hunger strike, because they want to get out. They’ve been held there for more than a year. And that points to another quick thing I would say about how ICE characterizes these facilities. They’re saying that the ICE immigrant detention centers that are private are short-term processing centers, where people are held for a very brief amount of time, doesn’t have anything to do with rehabilitation. That’s different than the prisons. So, you know, we are talking about different types of facilities.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: You know, there is a hunger strike going on at Berks, and Democracy Now! was able to speak to one of the women who are part of that hunger strike this week inside Berks.</p><p>HUNGER STRIKER: [translated] We know we haven’t committed any crime. We only came to ask for help in this country, help that still hasn’t been offered to us. There are many children who have thought about throwing themselves out of the window, of escaping. There are others who want to break the window, who say maybe sacrificing their own lives is going to be a sacrifice to free us all. So it’s very sad that children and adolescents are thinking of committing suicide, when really they should be focusing on their studies. </p> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:46:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062228 at http://personal.alternet.org Civil Liberties Civil Liberties Video detention watch private prisons In Historic Shift, U.S. Government to End Use of Deadly, Costly, Negligent Private Prisons http://personal.alternet.org/civil-liberties/historic-shift-us-government-end-use-deadly-costly-negligent-private-prisons <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">In what some are calling a historic change in policy, the Justice Department says it will phase out the use of privately run federal prisons. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/s1prisons.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>In a memo describing the historic policy shift, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said research showed private prisons "simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources" and "do not save substantially on costs," either. Yates added that government education and training programs for prisoners "proved difficult to replicate and outsource” in the private sector. In the memo, she said as the contracts for 13 private federal facilities come to the end of their terms over the next five years. Some 22,000 federal prisoners out of a total of 193,000 will eventually be impacted by the move. Most are immigrants convicted of crossing the border without permission—charges that currently account for 50 percent of all federal prosecutions. This follows a series of reports by investigative journalists. In our first segment, we speak with reporter Seth Freed Wessler, whose yearlong probe for The Nation and Reveal News uncovered dozens of questionable deaths and years of dire warnings from internal monitors at the private prisons now set to lose their contracts.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" scrolling="no" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/19/in_historic_shift_us_government_to" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We begin with news that some are calling a major reversal of U.S. prison policy. On Thursday, the Justice Department announced it plans to phase out the use of privately run federal prisons. In a memo describing the policy shift, Deputy Attorney General [Sally] Yates said research showed private prisons, quote, "simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources" and "do not save substantially on costs," either. Yates added that government education and training programs for prisoners, quote, "proved difficult to replicate and outsource" in the private sector. In the memo, she said, as the contracts for 13 private federal facilities come to the end of their terms over the next five years, quote, "the Bureau [of Prisons] should either decline to renew that contract or substantially reduce its scope." Some 22,000 federal prisoners out of a total of 193,000 will eventually be impacted by the move. Most are immigrants convicted of crossing the border without permission—charges that currently account for 50 percent of all federal prosecutions.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: The Department of Justice announcement will have no direct impact on private immigrant detention facilities, which contract with the Department of Homeland Security. It also has no direct bearing on contracts for privately run prisons at the state level which house less than 7 percent of the total state prison population. But the news still sent stocks plummeting—Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group and Management and Training Corporation, which operate the 13 federal prisons. CCA issued a statement today saying, quote, "We are disappointed with the BOP’s decision to reduce its utilization of privately operated facilities to meet their capacity needs, and believe our value proposition remains strong. ... At this time the contracts at the three facilities CCA operates on behalf of the BOP remain unchanged, and the BOP will determine whether to extend these contracts at the end of their respective contract terms," unquote. The statement noted the contracts account for 7 percent of CCA’s total annual revenue. All of this comes after a report released last week by the federal inspector general that found federal prisons run by private companies are substantially less safe and secure than ones run by the Bureau of Prisons, and feature higher rates of violence and contraband. It also follows a series of reports by investigative journalists. Some documented riots at these facilities in recent years, sparked by substandard food and medical care, and poor conditions. In other cases, prisoners have suffered in silence until their plight was exposed. For more, we’re joined by three of these journalists. Seth Freed Wessler’s yearlong probe for The Nation and Reveal News uncovered dozens of questionable deaths and years of dire warnings from internal monitors at the private prisons now set to lose their contracts. He’s joining us via Democracy Now! video stream from Maine. Joining us from Manchester, New Hampshire, Shane Bauer, whose 18-month investigation for Mother Jones recently took up its entire issue. Headlined "My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard," it chronicles his time as an undercover correctional officer at Louisiana’s Winn Correctional Center, run by the CCA, the Corrections Corporation of America. His most recent article is headlined "This Prisoner Hanged Himself at the Private Prison Where I Worked. His Family Says He Didn’t Have to Die." Also joining us here in New York is Democracy Now!’s Renée Feltz, the criminal justice correspondent who has reported for about a decade on private immigrant detention centers. We welcome all of you to Democracy Now! Seth Freed Wessler, let’s begin with you. Talk about the significance of this historic announcement out of the Justice Department that they’re closing for-profit prisons that are run by the DOJ.</p><p>SETH FREED WESSLER: Well, yesterday’s announcement by the Department of Justice came as a surprise to nearly everybody outside and inside the Bureau of Prisons. What the announcement says is that the Bureau of Prisons, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, over the next several years, will have to start shutting down its private prisons. You know, few people know that the federal government has established, over the last two decades, a sort of subsystem of federal private prisons used exclusively to hold noncitizens convicted of federal crimes. And these prisons have been the sites of repeated protests by prisoners, as I’ve documented in my reporting, and, as I found in an investigation for The Nation, deep and systemic failures to provide baseline levels of care to prisoners held inside, dozens of deaths of men who are held in these facilities, after substandard, negligent medical care. And so, this decision by the Department of Justice will begin a process of shuttering these very facilities that I’ve been investigating, where protests have erupted over the years. And over the next five years, we’re going to see these prisons close. There are 13 of these federal prisons operating right now, scattered around the country, in Texas and California and the South and elsewhere. And I spoke yesterday to the relatives, actually, of several men who died inside of these facilities after pretty extreme kinds of medical neglect. Both of those families said that they felt that this decision to close these facilities brought some kind of justice, if too late for them. It’s a big decision.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Seth, you mentioned that this policy has been in effect about two decades. Actually, it was in the mid-1990s, during the Bill Clinton administration, actually, that this began. We normally associate privatization of government services with Republicans. This actually started under a Democratic president. What was the original rationale for them?</p><p>SETH FREED WESSLER: That’s right. Well, as the federal government was beginning to incarcerate more and more people, and the size of the federal prison population was growing, the federal government, Congress and the White House, decided to begin a process of privatizing a subset of federal prisons to meet their capacity needs. In several years after the process began, the government actually decided, quite explicitly, that immigrants, noncitizens, would be an ideal group of people to be held in these stripped-down federal prisons. The government has said in statements, the BOP has said it in statements, that the immigrants, because they will later be transferred to immigration authorities and deported, that the government doesn’t have to provide them with the same kinds of rehabilitative or re-entry services that they might provide to U.S. citizens, that immigrants are an ideal group for these kinds of segregated subsystem of prisons. These facilities have expanded rapidly over the last 15 years as the number of immigrants who are prosecuted criminally for crossing the border has grown massively. Last year, 70,000 people were prosecuted in federal courts for border-crossing crimes, for entry after deportation or illegal entry. And this has helped to expand the federal criminal justice system and expand these private prisons. </p> Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:36:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062227 at http://personal.alternet.org Civil Liberties Civil Liberties Video policy private prison Stopping the Snake: Indigenous Protesters Shut Down Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline http://personal.alternet.org/activism/stopping-snake-indigenous-protesters-shut-down-construction-dakota-access-pipeline <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Currently, there is a growing protest in North Dakota, where hundreds of indigenous activists have shut down construction on a multibillion-dollar pipeline project. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/protest_construction_indigenous.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline is slated to carry half a million barrels of Bakken crude from North Dakota to Illinois. But members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe say the pipeline threatens to contaminate the Missouri River, which provides water not only for thousands of residents on the reservation, but also for millions of people living downstream. On April 1, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe launched an ongoing protest camp called Sacred Stone. Since late July, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline, at least 28 people have been arrested as they have used their bodies and horses to block construction.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/18/stopping_the_snake_indigenous_protesters_shut" width="630"></iframe></p> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 09:11:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062147 at http://personal.alternet.org Activism Activism Environment Video indigenous Why Did Clinton Just Tap a Pro-TPP, Pro-Keystone Pipeline, Pro-Fracking Pol to Head Her Transition Team? http://personal.alternet.org/environment/why-did-clinton-just-tap-pro-tpp-pro-kxl-pro-fracking-politician-head-her-transition <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> Hillary Clinton has announced former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as the head of her transition team. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/s2salazarclinton.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Ken Salazar is a former U.S. senator from Colorado who now works at WilmerHale, one of the most influential lobbying firms in Washington. Some groups have criticized Salazar’s selection due to his vocal support of fracking, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Keystone XL pipeline. In addition to Ken Salazar, other leaders of the transition team include former Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Maggie Williams, the director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics. For more, we speak with David Sirota, senior editor for investigations at the International Business Times.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/17/why_did_clinton_just_tap_a" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Hillary Clinton has announced former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as the head of her transition team. Salazar is a former United States senator from Colorado who now works at WilmerHale, one of the most influential lobbying firms in Washington. Some groups have criticized Salazar’s election, due—or, his selection, due to his vocal support of fracking, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Keystone XL pipeline. Molly Dorozenski of Greenpeace USA said, "If Clinton plans to effectively tackle climate change, the last thing her team needs is an industry insider like Ken Salazar. Salazar’s track record illustrates time and again that he is on the side of big industry, and not of the people. His most recent opposition to the anti-fracking initiatives in his home state of Colorado directly undermines Clinton’s alleged support of local control over fracking."</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: In addition to Ken Salazar, other leaders of the transition team include former Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Maggie Williams, the director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics. For more, we’re joined by David Sirota, senior editor for investigations at the International Business Times, joining us from Denver Open Media in Denver, Colorado, the home state of Ken Salazar. Welcome to Democracy Now!, David. Well, start off by talking about this selection of the former interior secretary, former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, to head the transition team of Hillary Clinton.</p><p>DAVID SIROTA: The Clinton campaign announced this in the last 36 hours. Ken Salazar will head the team that would, if Hillary Clinton is elected, would help build the administration. It’s an important appointment because many people believe that personnel is policy, and the people who are going to run the transition team are going to be looking at thousands, potentially, of appointments across the federal government in a prospective Hillary Clinton administration. So, who is at the top of this transition team, what their beliefs are, what their politics have been, is very important to understanding what may be coming in a Clinton administration policywise and whether those policies in a Clinton administration will reflect the policy promises from Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, as we mentioned, for years, Ken Salazar has been a vocal proponent of fracking. In 2014, he said, quote, "We know that, from everything we’ve seen, there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone. We need to make sure that story is told." And this is Ken Salazar speaking about fracking in 2011, when he was still interior secretary.</p><p>INTERIOR SECRETARY KEN SALAZAR: I think hydraulic fracking is very much a necessary part of the future of natural gas, because without this new technology, the amount of natural gas that we have available here in the country is a very diminished amount. And I think hydraulic fracking can be done in a safe way, in an environmentally responsible way and in a way that doesn’t create all of the concerns that it’s creating across the country right now.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Dave Sirota, what about this, his position on fracking?</p><p>DAVID SIROTA: Well, I mean, you’ve heard it there. I mean, Ken Salazar comes from Colorado and a part of the Colorado political establishment that supports fracking in a very aggressive way. The business community here supports the—supports fracking in a very aggressive way. We’ve had fights at the local level, where cities and towns have voted to ban or restrict fracking, and the state government has tried to use its power to effectively disenfranchise those communities from using that power to block or restrict fracking. There’s now a ballot measure on the ballot to further restrict fracking. Ken Salazar has come out against that, been one of the icons in the political establishment against that. So, he is somebody who is very close to the oil and gas industry, and somebody who has been a big defender of fracking, in the face of evidence that there are reasons to be concerned about the environmental and public health effects of that process.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about who WilmerHale, the most influential—one of the most influential lobbying firms in Washington, who Ken Salazar works for, who else they represent?</p><p>DAVID SIROTA: Yeah, they represent corporate clients across the board—Cigna, for instance. Cigna is a healthcare giant that is fighting for a merger with Anthem. WilmerHale represents them, Delta Airlines, Verizon, investment firms, a mining company. So, WilmerHale is a major law and lobbying firm. Ken Salazar is not a registered lobbyist at WilmerHale; he is a partner there. Interestingly enough, Hillary Clinton had published a year ago an op-ed deriding the revolving door where lawmakers leave office and become lobbyists or help special interests. And she had specifically said that she was concerned about lawmakers who go into that line of work, public policy work, for corporate clients, but do not register as a lobbyist, which seems to fit the description of Ken Salazar.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And also, the other appointees seem to be largely either former Obama officials or close confidants of Hillary Clinton, on the top transition team. Your sense of this sort of lack of an open tent, in terms of creating a transition team that would win support of other Americans?</p><p>DAVID SIROTA: Well, look, Hillary Clinton campaigned as a progressive, increasingly so facing the primary challenge from Bernie Sanders, and so I think there was some hope by folks that her transition team and her administration will reflect something that’s a little bit different from what people have come to believe is Clintonism, and more progressive perhaps than the Obama administration. This transition team seems to suggest more of continuity with the establishment, that the people who primarily are leading this are people who come out of the Obama administration, come out of the wing of the Democratic Party that is close to the business community, that is generally understood to be the establishment. So, we haven’t seen the policy yet, but if personnel is policy, this looks like a signal to the establishment that this is a continuity kind of government that’s going to be put out there—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: David Sirota—</p><p>DAVID SIROTA: —not necessarily one that [inaudible]—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you—last November, Ken Salazar, along with another former interior secretary, Bruce Babbitt, co-wrote a piece in USA Today backing the TPP. They wrote, quote, "The TPP is a strong trade deal that will level the playing field for workers to help middle-class families get ahead. It is also the greenest trade deal ever." Those are the words of, well, Ken Salazar, the new transition team head for Hillary Clinton.</p><p>DAVID SIROTA: Yeah, I mean, that’s a very important op-ed for people to understand right now, especially when there are fears that Hillary Clinton will ultimately back a version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership if she becomes president. She has said she is against it, but prior to running for president, she had been helping the Obama administration push that trade deal. And so, her transition chief is somebody who has been very publicly out there, since leaving government, pushing that deal on environmental grounds. Of course, in that deal, there are provisions that may make it easier for America to export fracked gas across the globe, so that this, I think, complicates the questions of where Hillary Clinton and her administration may be on trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: In 2014, Ken Salazar also pushed for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, telling the Associated Press he believed construction could, quote, "be done in a way that creates a win-win for energy and the environment." David Sirota?</p><p>DAVID SIROTA: Yeah, I mean, again, what we see from Ken Salazar’s record is somebody who is very close to big energy interests in—that have business before the federal government. What does it mean for the future, when another pipeline proposal, for instance, comes down the pike? We don’t know. But what we do know is that he will have a very serious hand in helping staff the Clinton administration, that he will have a hand in helping put personnel into the administration across the federal government. Whether he has litmus tests, whether he brings in people who he’s close to from his own politics, that will be a question. It will be a big question for Hillary Clinton.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: David, you have written a lot about the Clinton Foundation. Now, a lot of the news this week centers around the emails of Hillary Clinton. The State Department has agreed to provide the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch with emails that had been uncovered following the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of the private email server from 2009 to 2013, her tenure as secretary of state. And we know some of these emails relate to the Clinton Foundation. Can you talk about the significance of this?</p><p>DAVID SIROTA: Well, look, I mean, I think that the connections between—the potential connections between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation, they have been relatively well documented in the lead-up to this question about specific emails. Look, we know that money from foreign governments was going into the Clinton Foundation at a time that Hillary Clinton was America’s top diplomat—for instance, at a time when Hillary Clinton’s State Department was approving weapons deals for many of those foreign governments. We know that companies were paying Bill Clinton speaking fees at the same time that they were lobbying the State Department. We know that other interests, other corporate interests, were giving to the foundation when they had business with and/or were lobbying the State Department. The emails will provide, potentially, a more granular detailing of potential connections between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. And the fact of the matter is, the Clinton campaign has argued that there was no quid pro quo. Will there be a smoking-gun email? It’s hard to say. But what—do we know that money went into the Clinton Foundation from interests that had business before the State Department? Absolutely. And I think that is the fundamental—that is the fundamental issue at play here.</p> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 12:26:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062088 at http://personal.alternet.org Environment Election 2016 Environment Fracking ken salazar hillary clinton Ten Times Worse Than Hell: A Syrian Doctor on the Humanitarian Catastrophe in Aleppo http://personal.alternet.org/world/ten-times-worse-hell-syrian-doctor-humanitarian-catastrophe-aleppo <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">In the latest escalation of the war in Syria, Russia has begun launching airstrikes from an Iranian air base.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/syria_destruction.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The New York Times reports this marks the first time since World War II that a foreign military has operated from a base on Iranian soil. The move comes as fighting has intensified around Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Earlier this month, rebels fighting the Syrian government began a new offensive to break an ongoing government-backed siege of the city. The rebels have been led in part by an offshoot of the Nusra Front, which up until last month had been aligned with al-Qaeda. The International Committee of the Red Cross has described the fight for Aleppo as "beyond doubt one of the most devastating urban conflicts in modern times." The United Nations is warning of a dire humanitarian crisis as millions are left without water or electricity. For more on the humanitarian and medical crisis in Syria, we speak with Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society. He has visited Aleppo five times since the war began.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/17/ten_times_worse_than_hell_a" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In the latest escalation of the war in Syria, Russia has begun launching airstrikes from Iranian air bases—an air base. The New York Times reports this marks the first time since World War II that a foreign military has operated from a base on Iranian soil. The move comes as fighting has intensified around Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Earlier this month, rebels fighting the Syrian government began a new offensive to break an ongoing government-backed siege of the city. The rebels have been led in part by an offshoot of the Nusra Front, which, up until last month, had been aligned with al-Qaeda. The International Committee of the Red Cross has described the fighting for Aleppo as, quote, "beyond doubt one of the most devastating urban conflicts in modern times." The United Nations is warning of a dire humanitarian crisis, as millions are left without water or electricity. This is U.N. spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci.</p><p>ALESSANDRA VELLUCCI: The commission is gravely concerned for the safety of civilians, including a reported 100,000 children living in eastern Aleppo city, where violence has reached new heights in recent weeks as asymmetric warfare intensifies over control of armed group-held neighborhoods and their principal remaining supply lines.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, a British aid worker named Tauqir Sharif described the dire situation in Aleppo in this video he posted online.</p><p>TAUQIR SHARIF: I’ve just had to watch a woman lose three of her children, who were killed—OK?—and crying over their dead bodies. Thirty people just got killed not far from here in place called Shaar [inaudible]. We were just there yesterday. In a marketplace, 30 people just got killed. So, we’ve had so many dead bodies. You can hear what’s going on here. So, my dear brothers and sisters, please keep us in your duas. We need to get the message out right now. Hospitals are being targeted. People are being killed. OK? And war crimes are being committed. We need a no-fly zone in Syria. We need everybody to start voting for a no-fly zone. This is a massacre going on. This is a genocide.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Last week, 15 of the last 35 doctors in rebel-held eastern Aleppo wrote a letter to President Obama calling for help in getting humanitarian aid to 300,000 civilians trapped in the area and an end to Syrian and Russian bombardment of the besieged city. The letter said that there is an attack on medical facilities every 17 hours, and doctors were being forced to decide who will live and who will die.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: According to the humanitarian group Physicians for Human Rights, there have been more than 370 attacks on 265 medical facilities during the five-year conflict, as well as the deaths of 750 medical personnel. Overall, the death toll in the five-year Syrian conflict has reached close to half a million people. The ongoing war has displaced about half the prewar population, with more than 6 million Syrians displaced inside Syria and nearly 5 million Syrian refugees outside Syria’s borders. To find about about more the humanitarian and medical crisis in Syria, we’re joined by Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society. He’s visited Aleppo five times since the war began. Last week, he addressed the U.N. Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. He was a classmate of Bashar al-Assad in medical school. Dr. Sahloul is a critical care specialist in Chicago. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Doctor.</p><p>DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: Thank you for having me.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: When you heard about the latest attack, even since you’ve just returned from Aleppo, Russia attacking from Iran, your thoughts? And then describe Aleppo to us.</p><p>DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: I mean, my thoughts and my colleagues’ thoughts from Aleppo, which I keep contacts every minute with them, is the same, that everyone is bombing Syrians, and no one cares about ending the crisis. So it looks like the Russians are having fun bombing Syria from different parts, now added Iran to this, Iran bases. The coalition are bombing parts of Syria. They are bombing ISIS and also civilians. The Assad regime is bombing, you know, cities and historic sites and civilians, with barrel bombings and all kind of weapons. The Iranians are bombing Syrians. So everyone is bombing Syrians. And this is really the story that is not being told in the media. I mean, when people know about Syria or hear about Syria, they think it’s something related to ISIS or that it’s something that is complicated. But what’s happening, that civilians are suffering every day. Children are being mutilated and killed with barrel bombs and air missile bombs. Hospitals are targeted. Schools are targeted. Fruit markets are targeted. And historic sites, like the Old City of Aleppo, are being destroyed. So this is the tragedy that we are living in. We had half a million people killed in Syria so far, half of the population displaced. And so far, we don’t have a light at the end of the tunnel.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And in terms—you mentioned barrel bombs. What exactly are those, and who is dropping them?</p><p>DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: Barrel bombs are an invention of the Syrian regime. It’s a very cheap way to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. I’ve seen it, in my eyes, and the victims also of barrel bombs in my several missions to Syria, especially to the city of Aleppo. So these are barrels that—big barrels stuffed with TNT, half a ton of TNT, and shrapnels, metal shrapnels. And they come in all kind of sizes and shapes. And they’re thrown from helicopters on urban areas, on hospitals, on blocks, on civilian neighborhoods, on fruit markets, on schools. And it can cause a lot of destruction. I’ve seen them. I took pictures of the victims. I took pictures of the buildings that have been destroyed with barrel bombs. It’s a weapon of mass destruction. It’s a dumb bomb; it’s not a smart bomb. And it can kill a lot of people. And the only thing I’ve seen—you know, when you go to Aleppo, and this is something that, you know, if you go there—and you will see children pointing to the sky, and then you see this dot, which is the helicopter, and you hear the sound, the chop-chop-chop of the helicopter. And then this dot will throw another dot, which is the barrel, and then you have 30 to 40 seconds to run and hide from the barrel, or you can pray, because you don’t know where this barrel will hit. And it’s happening day after day for the past three years. It caused a lot of displacement. Let’s not forget that 2 million of the people of Aleppo are displaced, either inside Syria or became refugees, because of the barrel bombing. And it’s done by the Assad regime, of course. No one else has helicopters.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And how are the medical facilities and hospitals able to function on a day-to-day basis, if you could talk about that? I mean, what’s the relationship between the various rebel groups and the hospitals? Do they interfere with your work? And is the government paying for the salaries of these doctors? Or—talk about the system, how it’s operating.</p><p>DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: So, right now what we have in Syria is we have different areas in Syria that are out of the control of the government. These are areas that are controlled by the different rebel factions. And also, of course, you have areas in Syria that are controlled by the Kurdish troops and areas in Syria that are controlled by ISIS. But we operate mostly in rebel-controlled areas, because there are million of people who are in need for medical and humanitarian aid in these areas, and the United Nations are unable to reach them from Damascus, from government-controlled areas. And we reach them from Turkey, from Jordan. And you have hospitals that already established in cities like Aleppo and Idlib and Marat al-Numaan and Saraqib and Hama and other places, Daraa. And these hospitals need support. The government do not pay salaries. I mean, this is false. They don’t pay salaries for areas that are outside of their control. So doctors and nurses depend on NGOs to support them, pay for their salaries. And many of these hospitals have been targeted multiple times. It looks like there is systematic targeting by the Syrian government, by the Russians lately, to hospitals, because these hospitals treat everyone, of course, including the people who are injured by the fighting and snipers and the shelling. But what I’ve seen in Aleppo is mostly civilians who are the victims of barrel bombings and shelling. I’ve seen children. I mean, I’ve seen, in the last mission, a child, Ahmad, his name, is five years old. He was a victim of barrel bombing. He has a spinal cord injury. He had a lung contusion. He was on life support. And during my stay, he was between life and death. Unfortunately, one day after I left, he died. He had cardiac arrest. I’ve seen a woman, Fatima, 25 years old, who was pregnant in her third month. Two barrels fell on her house. Her older son, Abdo, nine years old, was killed; youngest daughter, Eilaf, was killed. And she was brought to the hospital. She had internal bleeding. She was on life support. Her fetus, unborn child, was also dead. And she was survived only by one son, Mahmoud, seven years old son. I took his picture as he was in the emergency room. I tried to talk with him. He could not smile. He was very traumatized. And you see this over and over in Aleppo. The doctors over there are overwhelmed by the number of casualties and victims. They cannot do enough surgeries to save everyone, especially that they are also, themselves, targeted. One of the doctors told me that he was working for 72 hours and that he does not mind working for a long time, but the worst thing that—the worst nightmare that he figured, that if he goes to his home and discovered that his wife and children are also killed or the target of barrel bombing.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: What about the children? You have said that they eat cat food and grass?</p><p>DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: Well, I mean, that happened in Madaya. That happened in Darayya and other places in Syria under siege. Let’s not forget that, according to the United Nations, there are 850,000 people under siege, barbaric siege, by their own government in places like East al-Ghouta, Darayya, Madaya, Moadamiya, Alwa and Homs and other places in Syria. And in Aleppo now, which became under siege, eastern Aleppo, you have 300,000 people, among them 85,000 children, who are under siege. When I was there, I visited an orphanage, that is also underground for protection. And the children over there had a play for the doctors who are coming from Chicago. We were three physicians who came from Chicago. And during that play, they were talking about that they are scared that they will have to eat grass and tree leaves and cat meat, the same way that the children of Madaya have done. And as you know, in Madaya, we had children who died because of starvation. Unfortunately, their fear became a reality right now. We have this whole area, 300,000 people in eastern Aleppo, that is under complete siege.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, you called for the international community to provide some kind of safe passage for medical personnel and for victims of the bombing. How would that work in practice, given, as you mentioned, all the various groups that have different control of different areas of a city like Aleppo?</p><p>DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: I mean, before the siege happened, this—that’s been going on for more than five weeks, the road to Turkey and to other places in Syria was open—the Castello Road. That’s the same road that I went to Aleppo through and left Aleppo through. And it’s right now blocked by the Syrian regime, and also assisted by the Russians and the Iranian paramilitias. So, if the United Nations oversaw this road, to keep it open, so we can have patients evacuated to Turkey. You have now all ICU beds in Aleppo are full with patients. And they are overwhelmed, so they need to evacuate patients. Children, who right now waiting for death, can be saved in Turkey and other places in Syria. And also let the humanitarian aid into Aleppo. What the Russians have suggested a couple weeks ago is to have a humanitarian corridor where families are allowed to go to western Aleppo. Western Aleppo is controlled by the government. Of course, no one trusts the Russians in Aleppo. No one trusts the government that is bombing their children and bombing their hospitals. And no one took the Russians on their offer. What we are asking for is a humanitarian corridor that—with the oversight of the United Nations.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to another video by British aid worker Tauqir Sharif in Aleppo. On Tuesday, he posted online this interview with Malika, the head nurse of the Children’s Hospital in Aleppo. MILAKA: [translated] It was Sunday, and the hospital was targeted from a plane. We got hit three times in a row. At around 1:20, we began moving all children from the second floor down to the first floor to save their lives. So the second strike was at 11:20, and again the hospital was hit. At this time, I was in the ICU, and we had a child who was two days old. His name was Ali Shibli. The room was hit, and I was injured. And, unfortunately, the air was also cut to Ali’s incubator. We tried a lot to resuscitate him, but in the end he sadly passed away. When we gave the baby back to his father, he was very upset, and he cried a lot. And so did I. We will stay here. We are not afraid. We will continue to work. If we leave these children, who will be here to help them? We will never leave our country. We will never stop our work.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That is the head nurse of the Children’s Hospital in Aleppo. Dr. Zaher Sahloul, you also have just returned from there. You were a medical school classmate of Bashar al-Assad? Do you know him? Have you spoken to him?</p><p>DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: Yes, I mean, we were in medical school for six years. We graduated together in 1988. We took together the oath, the Hippocratic oath, that every physician should do no harm and should save lives, even the lives of their enemies. I met with him after he became a president, three times. And my organization, Syrian American Medical Society, we used to do medical conferences in Syria and do medical missions before the crisis, so I met with him as the president. And I remember one time I asked him—you know, I was naive. I came from the United States, and I told him, "Are you planning to do—to have democratic reform in Syria?" And he had this very long, triangulated answer; then he told me, "Syrians are not ready for democracy." And, you know, two months before the Arab Spring started in Syria, he was asked the same question by, I think, The Wall Street Journal, and he had the same answer. So—but, you know, when we talk with him, he’s very personable. I mean, he’s a humble person, especially when he was in medical school. No one expected him to be that brutal. No one expected him to oversee the destruction of half of his country and displacement of half of the population, killing half a million people. And, you know, this is a puzzle to us. But definitely, he has changed since he became—he took power in Syria.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And you’ve said that the crisis in Syria is contributing to the rise of the Islamic State. Could you explain how you see that happening?</p><p>DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: I mean, definitely. The same pictures that you are showing and the same pictures that I’ve seen of children who are mutilated, who are killed, the women who are killed, the elderly who are killed—I mean, I’ve seen a disabled child who was deaf and mute, who was the victim of barrel bomb. I mentioned during my testimony to the Security Council the story of a child, Shahd, 10 years old, who was a victim of barrel bomb, and she was on life support, waiting for evacuation. The Security Council was not able to evacuate her, and she died, next day after my testimony. So these pictures and stories are circulated in the social media. They are used by ISIS and other extremist groups to recruit potential extremists, not only in Syria and the Middle East, but also in Europe and United States. There is a direct connection between what’s happening in Aleppo and what happened in Orlando, what happened in San Bernardino, what happened in Nice, what happened in Belgium. And unless we stop this crisis, unless we stop this gushing wound in Syria, we will continue to have terrorism and chaos. We are suffering because of the implication of the refugee crisis in Europe and throughout the world. One out of four refugees in the world—we have 20 million refugees. One out of four of them is from Syria. In order to stop this crisis, in order to stop the Islamophobia and the xenophobia that is associating this crisis, we have to stop people from being displaced in Syria. And people are fearful from barrel bomb. I’ve went into medical mission to Jordan and Lebanon and Greece. And when I talk with people, "Why are you leaving Syria? Why did you leave Syria?" they mention the barrel bomb. They mention the Russian attacks. They mention the Assad regime brutality. So, in order to stop the refugee crisis, we have to stop the Assad regime brutality and the Russian attacks.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: You met with President Obama a few years ago. You’re from his city; you’re from Chicago. You gave him a letter. What did you ask of him?</p><p>DR. ZAHER SAHLOUL: I met with him in July 2013. There was a reception in the White House, and I had 30 seconds to talk with him. I delivered a letter on behalf of the Syrian American Medical Society and Syrian physicians, asking him to protect hospitals and protect civilians, the same way that we provided protection to Bosnia during the conflict. I told him that his legacy will be determined by what he does and what he does not do in Syria. He laughed, and he said that, "But my legacy will be determined by other things." I told him, "Mr. President, your legacy will be determined—the most important factor will be Syria." I still believe that Syria will determine his legacy. And the fact that President Obama did not follow on his pledges when he had these red lines and did not enforce it, I think this is what is causing the chaos and the extremism and the refugee crisis that we are facing right now.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Zaher Sahloul, thank you very much for being with us, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria, senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society, has visited Aleppo five times since the war began. Last week, he addressed the U.N. Security Council on the humanitarian crisis in Syria. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we go to Denver, Colorado, to look at Hillary Clinton’s transition team. If she is elected president, who would be in charge? Stay with us.</p> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 12:18:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062086 at http://personal.alternet.org World Video World iran syria Danny Glover on How to Stop Donald Trump and Police Killings http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/danny-glover-larry-hamm-black-lives-matter-police-killings-how-stop-donald-trump <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The actor spoke out with activist Larry Hamm recently.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/danny_glover_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Regarding law enforcement, one of the key backers of the New Jersey legislation has been Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress in New Jersey. We recently spoke to Hamm and actor Danny Glover in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/17/danny_glover_larry_hamm_on_black" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We end today’s show looking at police brutality. In New Jersey, lawmakers have recently introduced legislation that would require the state’s attorney general to review every death at the hands of law enforcement. One of the key backers of the New Jersey legislation has been Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress in New Jersey.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: We recently spoke to Larry Hamm and actor Danny Glover in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention, interviewing them the morning after the mothers of children killed by police or vigilantes spoke at the DNC. I began by asking Larry Hamm to talk about the significance of that rare moment at the convention.</p><p>LARRY HAMM: Well, it was very painful. But let me say, first of all, that it was an extraordinary moment. I’ve been involved in electoral politics going back to the National Black Political Convention in 1972, and I couldn’t have imagined a moment when a major political party would have the mothers of victims like these premiered and presented at a national convention. So it was an extraordinary moment. And the mothers presented themselves well. And they spoke well. And there’s nothing that the mothers said that I could disagree with. I love those mothers. But at the same time, I wish someone would have said police brutality must stop. Nobody said that, I mean, unless I missed it. Police brutality must stop. In the two years since the death of Michael Brown, 2,500 people have been killed by police in the United States—last year, 1,135 killed; this year, 506 killed. And it goes on and on and on. No one said—and you had the mothers—the mothers who actually spoke, two of the three, their sons were victims of racist violence, not police brutality, per se. But no one said racist violence must stop. Nobody talked about the numbers of incidents. And I wouldn’t expect them to do so, but you have to understand, there was a whole segment of the convention that kind of dealt with this issue. They brought the chief of police from Pittsburgh to speak. And the emphasis was on community-police cooperation, gun control. But nobody’s talking about police brutality. I support the Black Lives Matter movement. But we’re saying black lives matter, black lives matter. No one is saying stop police brutality. Our people are being killed in the street. And the people who are killing them are not being held accountable, not being indicted, not going to trial, not being found guilty. And this is the problem. You know, we don’t want police—I’m not—one of these chiefs talked about, "Well, they expect so much of the police, to be this, that." Not expecting that. What we expect: Don’t kill unarmed black people. And if you do it, you have to face the same consequences as if I would have done it. And this is the problem. And it was a very painful moment for me when the mothers spoke, but they did well. I have no criticisms of those women in pain. But in New Jersey, we have Abdul Kamal, who was killed by the Irvington police, shot 15 times. He had a cellphone in his hand. Jerame Reid got out the car with his hands up—it’s on video—shot at point-blank range by a black police officer, Braheme Days. Kashad Ashford, shot four times in the head while he was unconscious. Little 14-year-old Radazz Hearns, shot seven times in the back. You know, and it goes on and on. And somehow, the discussion is always deflected, and these—the murders of those police in Dallas and, I believe it was, in Baton Rouge, you know, every time the movement seems to get white-hot and there’s a real sharp focus on the police, something is used to deflect and to fuzzy that focus. And we got to get that focus back. We got to get it back, and we got to force every possible change that is needed to deal with this problem.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, Larry, you have been pushing for this for decades. I don’t know if a week goes by where Democracy Now! doesn’t get a press release from People’s Organization for Progress in Newark, New Jersey, where you are holding another protest somewhere in New Jersey—</p><p>LARRY HAMM: Yes. AMY GOODMAN: —around a person who has been killed or someone you’re remembering or demanding some kind of change.</p><p>LARRY HAMM: Right. AMY GOODMAN: What is that change that you feel is so critical to really make a difference in this country to deal with police violence?</p><p>LARRY HAMM: Well, right now, with the cases that we’re dealing with in Jersey, the four I just mentioned, we want the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, to launch civil rights investigations into the deaths of Kamal, Reid, Ashford, and the shooting of Hearns. In all of those cases, there were no indictments—nobody indicted, nobody going to trial. And we want civil rights investigations. Not that we’re saying that that in itself is a panacea, but one of the reforms we need in New Jersey, we need an office of the special prosecutor just to—independent office of special prosecutor just to investigate these police shootings. And Bernie Sanders had something in his platform. He said that every time the police kill someone, there should be a special independent investigation. But there is a whole agenda of reforms that are needed. But what we need at this moment is to hold together this critical mass that seems to have come together at this moment to bring about fundamental change.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, you know, one of the things I’m wondering—maybe Danny might want to comment on this—is this is not a new story. In fact, if you go back to the Chicago race riot of 1919, the East St. Louis riot in 1917, the Detroit riot of 1942, Newark in ’67—</p><p>LARRY HAMM: Yes.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —Detroit, almost always mass insurrections in the black community have resulted from police violence. And I’ve come to the conclusion, I think—I don’t know if you agree—that every 20 years, police departments of America change personnel, because most of the cops are in for 20, 25 years, and they retire. And there’s no institutional memory or legacy, so you have a new generation of cops that are on the street right now that weren’t there in 1992 during Rodney King, who weren’t there in 1960, and the institutions themselves don’t train and make that a part of their training of the police to how they are supposed to respect the black and brown communities of the country. So you have to go through these—through these spates of tides of sudden killings, and then resistance by the communities, before the new generation of cops recognizes you can’t be doing that, people are going to resist you.</p><p>DANNY GLOVER: Thank you, Larry, for all of the work that you’ve done over the years. We go way back and know each other for some times. And certainly, I want to talk about, certainly, the video itself, which just so moved me. And as I sat here—because I wasn’t there last night in the convention center, as I sat here and watched it before we—and listened to the words and all that stuff, I just thought about what a great moment, what a moment, what a signature moment and a key important moment. We must remember this moment, that moment, not the election after, but for decades to come. Remember this moment, because maybe within that, there’s a context of the situation where we can—we can create some kind of different narrative about this, our relationship. And it goes back, our relationship with law enforcement. It goes back since before the Civil War. It goes back to the slave militias. It goes back. It goes way back to after the Civil War, the relationship with law enforcement and everything. So let’s—we could go on and on and on. But it’s the culture of it. It’s the culture within the department, which seems to perpetuate itself and sustain itself, in some sense. Now, certainly, when I thought about—when they talked about the movement, I was thinking about, well, when we talk about Black Lives Matter and those courageous women who began that and then built that—</p><p>LARRY HAMM: Absolutely.</p><p>DANNY GLOVER: —they’ve talked about police brutality. It’s right up on that.</p><p>LARRY HAMM: Yes, yes.</p><p>DANNY GLOVER: Right up on the agenda. But they’ve been inclusive of other dynamics. When you talk about Black Lives Matter, you have to talk about education. You have to talk about all the different things that affect black lives, the lives of young black children, all the time, every single thing. I remember when I worked for city government in the Model Cities Program, the office of community development, in 1971, for six-and-a-half years. We knew, in the Hunters Point, in the Bayview-Hunters Point, a predominantly black community, we knew how many jobs were going to be coming there this summer, summer jobs and everything else. I’m not saying the model wasn’t perfect, but there was a different kind of engagement. All of us who came through and witnessed what happened with the Black Panther Party, when they talked about community, community and police protection and all those things. But they added other things to the program—free breakfast for children, free education, free healthcare. All those become a part of what Black Lives Matter. In a larger context, in a larger time, it’s a caring about our whole being, who we are spiritually, who we are physically, etc.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to intone these three mothers’ names. We’re talking about Geneva Reed-Veal, who was the mother of Sandra Bland, Sandra Bland who was taken by a police officer in Texas, who was taken to jail—she couldn’t afford the bond. She is—she’s taken to jail because she was pulled over, supposedly for not signaling a traffic lane change.</p><p>LARRY HAMM: Right.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Then you had Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, young teenager who was in a car with his friends, Thanksgiving, in a parking lot, playing music. And a white man drove up, annoyed by their loud music, instead of just pulling his car away, he ends of opening fire on them and killing Jordan. And then, finally, Lesley McSpadden, who was the mother of Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer two years ago. At the Democratic National Convention, all standing, and also Eric Garner’s mother was standing there.</p><p>DANNY GLOVER: Yes, yes, exactly.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Does this—Danny Glover, what does this mean for you in terms of who you will vote for? Did this surprise you, as you heard that this took place? You have long been a surrogate for Bernie Sanders, as Larry Hamm was a supporter of Bernie Sanders. Larry, I think you’re going to go in maybe a different direction than Danny Glover is going to go in casting a final vote. Who are you going to vote for? Do you know at this point, Danny Glover?</p><p>DANNY GLOVER: I’m going to be very frank: When I go to the polls, I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton. I’m going to be very frank about that. I think that the idea of Donald Trump as president, see, is also a frightening idea. But I know at the same time, in voting for Hillary Clinton, I want to put the kind of pressure on her. I want to make her live up to that platform and everything else. I want us to exceed what has been put in that platform. I want us to see a movement come out of this. Now, in the event that she wins, we’re going to fight, still. In the event that she doesn’t win, we’re going to fight, still. There’s no worse coming, in the event she doesn’t. But, I mean, I’m going to go—I know where black people are going, and I’m going to go with them. I’m going to go with those mothers. You know what I’m saying? I’m going to go with those mothers, because my mother, if she was here, she would have hugged those mothers, and she would have been weeping in front of the television. And I’m going to go with those mothers, absolutely.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Larry?</p><p>LARRY HAMM: Yes. I’m going to follow the guidance of the standard-bearer Bernie Sanders, and I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton. It’s a choice between neofascism, Donald Trump, and neoliberalism, Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump must be defeated, and not just defeated, he must be defeated decisively. There must be a repudiation of these ultra-right-wing and fascist tendencies that are supporting him and that are in his movement. The struggle against neoliberalism, which has been going on for the past 40 years, will continue after November the 8th. And the Bernie Sanders movement is at a critical stage. Bernie Sanders did something that was tremendous in the political arena. He widened the space for progressive politics. But more than that, he proved that there is a critical mass of people in the United States that will support progressive, even radical, politics. And the challenge at this point is for all of those forces—because there’s one force. There’s the Bernie Sanders movement vis-à-vis the Democratic Party and the establishment and corporate leadership of that party, but within the Bernie Sanders movement itself, there are many tendencies. The question is: Are those tendencies going to be able to resolve their contradictions to the point—not eliminate them, but at least modify them to the point that they can hold together and keep this movement going? Or are they going to explode?</p> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 10:02:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062070 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Video new jersey danny glover trump police killings black lives matter "What Would She Do in Iraq?": As Clinton Slams Trump for ISIS Speech, We Look at Her Own Positions http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/what-would-she-do-iraq-clinton-slams-trump-isis-speech-we-look-her-own-positions <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">On Monday, while Trump was speaking in Youngstown, Ohio, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden held a rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/hillary_clinton.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Scranton is VP Biden’s hometown. During her speech, Hillary Clinton slammed Trump’s foreign policy positions on Syria and fighting ISIS. But what about her own positions? For more, we speak with Phyllis Bennis, author of "Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror." We also speak with co-founder of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York Linda Sarsour.</p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/16/what_would_she_do_in_iraq" width="630"></iframe></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to turn to Hillary Clinton, who spoke alongside Biden in Scranton, Pennsylvania, just as Donald Trump was giving his major foreign policy address in Youngstown.</p><p>HILLARY CLINTON: He talked about letting Syria become a free zone for ISIS, a major country in the Middle East that could launch attacks against us and others. He’s talked about sending ground troops, American ground troops. Well, that is off the table as far as I am concerned. So, we’ll wait and see what he says today. But, you know, sometimes he says he won’t tell anyone what he’ll do, because he wants to keep his plan, quote, "secret." And then, it turns out, the secret is he has no plan.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That’s Hillary Clinton. Phyllis Bennis, your response?</p><p>PHYLLIS BENNIS: You know, this is a serious challenge when we’re talking about the strategy for these wars. The notion that Hillary Clinton is saying, "That’s off the table," I’d like to know if she’s opposed to the thousands of U.S. troops that are now officially, openly in Iraq, the hundreds that are officially, openly in Syria. She hasn’t said whether she would call them back, whether she would simply not escalate. So her own position here is very unclear. One of the things that Trump had said about Iraq, which was quite extraordinary, was this notion that as he was against nation building, he said what we should have done in Iraq was keep control of the oil, because that would have, on the one hand, kept the money from the oil out of the hands of ISIS, and, on the other hand, it would mean that we would, of course, have soldiers on the ground to protect that oil. So he was calling for a permanent deployment of troops, a permanent occupation of Iraq. Hillary Clinton’s position is very unclear. What would she do in Iraq? And the problem is, it’s—the critique that she’s making is fine, but she has no answer for it herself. She has called for an escalation in Syria, for the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria. No one is asking her whether she believes that her former colleague on the—in the Obama Cabinet, the then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who said he was against a no-fly zone in Syria—sorry, in Libya, because the first act of a no-fly zone is an act of war, to take out the antiaircraft system. Now, Libya hardly had an antiaircraft system. Syria has a very developed, first Soviet-installed and Russian-supplied, antiaircraft system. So, is Hillary Clinton saying it’s OK to go to war against Russia? Is she calling for that? No one is pressing her on that question. No one asked her that question after her own speech. So, her position of saying how outrageous the positions of Donald Trump is accurate, in its own right, but doesn’t take into account the uncertainty of her own position, whether she would support more ground troops, whether she would support a so-called no-fly zone that would immediately be extended to a regime change action, as it was in Libya. These are all uncertainties that we still have no answers to.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Donald Trump talking about Iran.</p><p>DONALD TRUMP: Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, is now flush with $150 billion in cash released by the United States, plus, if you remember from two weeks ago, another $400 million in actual cash that was obviously used for ransom. Worst of all, the nuclear deal puts Iran, the number one state sponsor of radical Islamic terrorism, on a path to nuclear weapons.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Phyllis Bennis, your response?</p><p>PHYLLIS BENNIS: Well, first of all, I mean, where to start in that? The notion that Iran is the leading state sponsor of what he calls radical Islamic—Islamist terror, which—by which he means primarily ISIS and al-Qaeda, who are sworn enemies of Iran—they have both theological, sectarian, as well as national fights, and Iran is one of the greatest enemies of both ISIS and al-Qaeda. You could start there with what’s wrong with this. The notion that the Iran deal has put Iran on a path to a nuclear weapon, not even the critics of the deal claim that. The critics of the deal said it didn’t go far enough, it didn’t impose enough sanctions, something like that. That was sort of the Hillary Clinton critique and the critique of others, but none of them said that this deal puts Iran on a path towards a nuclear weapon. All 16 U.S. intelligence agencies have consistently agreed—and they don’t agree on a lot—but they have consistently agreed that Iran not only has not made a nuclear weapon, is not trying to make a nuclear weapon, but that it had not even reached the decision that it wanted to make a nuclear weapon. So this is simply created whole cloth.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Before we end, I wanted to get to what happened here in New York. Hundreds gathered here in New York Monday for the funeral of Imam Maulama Akonjee and his assistant Thara Uddin, who were shot in the back of their heads while walking home from prayer in broad daylight Saturday. On Monday, a suspected shooter, Oscar Morel, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder. Authorities said it’s not clear whether the attacks were targeted as a result of their faith. This is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who spoke at Monday’s funeral.</p><p>MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: And we know there are voices all over this country who are spewing hate, trying to create division, trying to turn one American against another. I look around at all my brothers and sisters here, I see proud Americans, I see proud New Yorkers. And I will never let us be torn apart, and we will not let each other be torn apart.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Linda Sarsour, your final comment?</p><p>LINDA SARSOUR: I mean, just an outrageous and traumatic experience. And we may never know the motive. The two victims are dead and can’t speak for themselves about what happened. But it still validates why, in this climate, the Muslim community is on edge and very afraid. And we should be able to live freely and safely, and walk home from our mosque without being targets of murder in our streets.</p> Tue, 16 Aug 2016 10:08:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1062001 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Video trump Matt Taibbi: What Are Trump and His Campaign Manager's True Intentions with Russia? http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/matt-taibbi-trumps-position-nato-russia-his-campaign-heads-13-million-scandal-ukraine <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi and author Phyllis Bennis dissect Trump&#039;s proposals outlined in his Youngstown, Ohio, speech Monday.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/manafort_trump.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>During Donald Trump’s speech in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reversed his earlier threats to defy NATO treaties, and instead said he would work closely with the alliance to defeat ISIS. For more, we speak with award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi and author Phyllis Bennis.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/16/matt_taibbi_on_trump_s_position" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: On Monday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump invoked the Cold War as he pledged to wage war against what he described as the "ideology of radical Islam." During his speech in Youngstown, Ohio, Trump also reversed his position on NATO, saying he would work closely with the alliance to defeat ISIS.</p><p>DONALD TRUMP: We will also work very closely with NATO on this new mission. I had previously said that NATO was obsolete, because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism. Since my comments, they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats. Very good. Very, very good. I also believe that we could find common ground with Russia in the fight against ISIS.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That’s Donald Trump in Youngstown. Phyllis Bennis, why don’t you take a shot at this?</p><p>PHYLLIS BENNIS: Well, you know, I think that, first of all, his early critique of NATO was not about its lack of focus on terrorism, it was about the fact that, in his view, NATO countries don’t pay enough money to NATO, and therefore the U.S. is carrying too much of the burden. So, he’s now trying to claim credit for the fact that NATO took up an antiterrorism section after the attacks in France and Brussels. That’s what the response was. It wasn’t because Donald Trump made a comment. So, that’s one side of it. The other side, though, you know, certainly, I think it’s always better to be talking about diplomacy, to be talking about negotiations with all other countries, certainly including Russia, rather than basing the relationship with Russia on threats, on new sanctions, etc. I do think, though, that the problem here is that we did not hear any actual plan for diplomacy. There was no reference to the existing diplomacy that has supposed to be underway between the United States and Russia regarding the war in Syria. That diplomacy has been very, very limited to "what can we bomb together?" There has not been a serious diplomatic move. If Donald Trump had been serious about rebuilding a different kind of relationship with Russia, he would have spoken about a new kind of diplomacy, based on finding diplomatic rather than military solutions, when we know that these military solutions have failed. He has no acknowledgment that the military solutions that he is talking about—simply escalating—that they have failed, and they will continue to fail. So this notion of a new position on NATO "because I spoke about it" is simply not based on either the history of what he actually said in the past or the potential of what there’s going to have to be, if there’s going to be an easing of the tensions between Russia and the West, whether over Ukraine, whether the stationing of new NATO forces surrounding Russia, which is what’s going on right now. All of those realities have to be taken up in a diplomatic way, but he’s not talking about serious diplomacy.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Speaking Monday at a campaign event in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Vice President Joe Biden, who was together with Hillary Clinton, said Donald Trump would make America less safe.</p><p>VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: This guy’s shame has no limits. He’s even gone so far as to ask Putin and Russia to conduct cyber-attacks against the United States of America. No, no, even if he is joking, which he’s not, even if he’s joking, what an outrageous thing to say. Look, folks, these are not isolated examples. He’s even showered praise on Saddam Hussein, one of the vilest dictators of the 20th century, a man who repeatedly backed terror attacks against Israel because he was supposedly—the reason he admires him—he was a killer of terrorists. That’s why he likes Saddam. He would have loved Stalin. He would have loved Stalin.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That was Vice President Joe Biden speaking in Scranton, Pennsylvania, together with Hillary Clinton. Now, Matt Taibbi, you’re with Rolling Stone now. You lived in Moscow for 10 years; five of those years, you were editor of a newspaper called The Exile. Talk about Russia here—Hillary Clinton’s views on Russia, Donald Trump. Even take it to Paul Manafort, who The New York Times has been running pieces exposing ties to the Russian-friendly former head of Ukraine.</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Yeah, so, a story came out yesterday in The New York Times that had a couple of scoops in it. One sort of linked Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, to pro-Kremlin forces which supported the Yanukovych regime in Ukraine. There was also—there were some details about some dealings that Manafort had with a figure named Oleg Deripaska, who’s sort of one of the earliest Russian oligarchs, who was a much-feared figure during the '90s and throughout the 2000s. These stories were interesting. It was interesting that Trump chose to keep his remarks about working with Russia in his speech yesterday, after this pseudo-bombshell report in The New York Times. I think a different campaign might have edited those remarks out so as to take the spotlight away from Russia for a day or two. But he's been right out in the open in talking about how he wants to continue working with Russia. Incidentally, the idea of now let’s work with NATO and let’s work with Russia at the same time, you know, he neglects to point out that there’s some contradiction there. Obviously, the Russians have a tremendous—it’s a tremendous domestic issue in Russia, the expansion of NATO. And so, that would somehow have to be smoothed over diplomatically in order for us all to work together collectively against ISIS. That issue would have to be dealt with before we can effectively work with Vladimir Putin.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And just to be clear, The New York Times exposé yesterday that handwritten ledgers unearthed by Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau showed nearly $13 million of cash payments that were slated to go to Paul Manafort, the campaign manager for Donald Trump. <span style="font-size: 12px;">Not know whether he actually received them, but he spent years—what, from 2010 to 2014—with Yanukovych—</span><span style="font-size: 12px;">has an office in Kiev.</span></p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Yes, he’s worked with all sorts of unsavory characters, from Mobutu Sese Seko to Ferdinand Marcos, and Yanukovych was another one. And, yes, he’s made a lot of money. He’s never—he’s never denied that. They did find this ledger after 2014, after Yanukovych stepped down, and—but he’s denied that he ever received this money. So, as of now, all they have is the ledger showing that this payment was made. We don’t know yet where that’s going to lead.</p> Tue, 16 Aug 2016 09:32:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061997 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Video trump Linda Sarsour: Rudy Giuliani Could Be the Next Head of the Department of Homeland Security http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/extreme-vetting-trump-vows-ideological-test-immigrants-return-mccarthy-era-repression <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Democracy Now! spoke with Linda Sarsour, co-founder of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York, about Trump&#039;s &quot;extreme vetting&quot; for immigrants proposed in his speech yesterday. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/rudy_trump.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump invoked the Cold War as he pledged to wage war against what he described as the "ideology of radical Islam" during a speech in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday. Trump also vowed to institute "extreme vetting" of visa applicants. He also said he’d create a commission on radical Islam, keep Guantánamo Bay open and stop trying people accused of terrorism in civilian courts. For more, we speak with Matt Taibbi, award-winning journalist with Rolling Stone magazine. We also speak with Phyllis Bennis, author of "Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror." And we speak with Linda Sarsour, director of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change, and co-founder of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/16/extreme_vetting_trump_vows_ideological_test" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: On Monday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump invoked the Cold War as he pledged to wage war against what he described as the "ideology of radical Islam." During a speech in Youngstown, Ohio, Trump vowed to institute "extreme vetting" of visa applicants.</p><p>DONALD TRUMP: In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting. I call it extreme, extreme vetting. Our country has enough problems. We don’t need more. And these are problems like we’ve never had before. In addition to screening out all members of the sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes toward our country or its principles, or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law. Those who do not believe in our Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred will not be admitted for immigration into our country. Only those who we expect to flourish in our country and to embrace a tolerant American society should be issued visas. To put these new procedures in place, we will have to temporarily suspend immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world, that have a history of exporting terrorism.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Donald Trump also said he’d create a commission on radical Islam, keep Guantánamo open and stop trying people accused of terrorism in civilian courts. He had initially called for a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration, before shifting to a ban on those from countries with a history of terrorism. While his campaign has declined to offer specifics on which countries would qualify, Trump said Monday that his State Department and Department of Homeland Security would decide which regions would qualify, based on whether adequate screenings could take place. For more, we’re joined by three guests. Matt Taibbi, award-winning journalist with Rolling Stone magazine, has been closely covering the Trump campaign. His most recent piece is headlined "The Summer of the Shill." Phyllis Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. She’s written several books, including, most recently, Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror. And Linda Sarsour is with us. She’s director of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change, and co-founder of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York. We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Linda, let’s begin with you. Your response to Donald Trump’s proposal for "extreme vetting," as he calls it?</p><p>LINDA SARSOUR: I mean, it’s a continuation of his ludicrous policy proposals. I’m a person who has been working with refugees, asylees in New York City for 15 years. He has no idea the vetting process that immigrants go through before they come to the United States. And he’s taking us back to the 1950s, McCarthy era, this idea of creating a committee on radical Islam. Who is going to set the standards for what that looks like? And when he talks about testing immigrants around those—only those who will flourish in this country or those who believe in American values, who’s going to set what those American values are? Donald Trump? The fact that Rudy Giuliani was even anywhere near this, the fact that Rudy Giuliani could be the next head of the Department of Homeland Security, scares me more than Donald Trump. So, I wasn’t shocked or surprised, but the fact that we have gotten to this point and that our country is allowing a man of this caliber to be running for the highest office of this land is absolutely outrageous.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Matt Taibbi? MATT TAIBBI: Yeah, I mean, I think the speech was crazy, as a lot of Trump’s speeches are. Clearly, he’s backed off slightly from the "let’s ban all Muslims" idea that he unleashed last year, and he’s just rebranding it as "extreme vetting," probably because he realized the idea of banning all Muslims is unconstitutional, because it would violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. But this idea that he thinks that returning to the McCarthy era and having an ideological test and rooting out un-American activities—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s talk about that, an ideological test.</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Yeah, well, he’s very clearly, openly invoking the Cold War era as though McCarthyism was a good idea. I think most Americans would look back at that period in our history with shame and regret. And Trump seems to think, and probably some of his voters think, that it’s something that we should go back to. And it’s remarkable that he thinks that this would be a winning political idea in an electoral season.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Phyllis Bennis, your response in Washington, D.C.?</p><p>PHYLLIS BENNIS: You know, Amy, I think this point about the link with the McCarthy period is very crucial. What he’s really calling for is a return of HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee, that so infamously was involved in destroying so many people’s lives with false allegations of being fellow travelers or members of the Communist Party, with exactly this kind of extreme vetting that kept out immigrants, but also went after residents and citizens in this country. So this notion of establishing a new—what he called a commission on radical Islam, when I saw those words, I thought, "Oh, my god, this is a return to HUAC," to the House Un-American Activities Committee, which famously continued until the very end, when it was finally brought down by shame when one of the officials turned to one of the prosecutors and said, "Have you no shame, sir?" It was, you know, this moment of ending this extraordinary repressive example of what that period was. And here he is essentially equating the global war on terror, for which he really has very much the same kinds of policies that are being imposed now, with a few differences, keeping—of asserting keeping Guantánamo Bay prison open instead of hoping to close it, even though it remains open. So, there’s not a lot of difference in the actual policies. But what Donald Trump’s speech tried to do was to assert that this question of terrorism, which is something that is affecting a wide range of regions around the world, certainly, but has not come close to the question of the risks of World War II—when he talked about comparing it to the war against fascism, the war against Nazism, this is a ludicrous comparison. And yet he’s talking about establishing the same kind of response, meaning this ideological test, this notion of extreme vetting. It’s as if he’s asserting the value of extremism as the reason people should support his candidacy, because he’s an extremist.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: It’s interesting, the words he used are sometimes words that are leveled against him. Let’s go back to just a clip of what he said.</p><p>DONALD TRUMP: Those who do not believe in our Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred will not be admitted for immigration into our country.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Linda Sarsour? LINDA SARSOUR: I mean, I—that was literally like a comedy show. I thought it was like Saturday Night Live. I mean, he’s the first person to be deported. He’s the first person—I’d sign his deportation proceeding, to be at the airport waving him goodbye. He’s running a campaign on the very things that he’s saying he’s going to fight against—bigotry, hatred. He’s talking about taking down fascism and then comparing what he wants to do to the era of taking down fascism. He is an American fascist, and this is what his campaign has been all about. And again, the scariest part of it, again, is not Donald Trump; it’s the people that come to his rallies and cheer him on in that room, and the people that think that his ideas are good ideas. And you know this, Amy. If there was a committee on radical Islam, you and I would be the first targets. This idea that anyone that criticizes the U.S. government, anyone who is considered unpatriotic, we would be the first people to be targeted. So, we are—he’s creating an environment of law and order. He wants to keep everybody in line. If you don’t agree with Donald Trump and his supporters, you are not welcomed here. So, that’s a big portion of the American people. So, hopefully—I’m just hoping he’s not the next president of the United States. </p> Tue, 16 Aug 2016 08:57:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061993 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Civil Liberties Election 2016 Video trump African-American Women Make Olympic History http://personal.alternet.org/world/african-american-women-make-olympic-history-winning-gold-swimming-gymnastics-shot-put <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Stanford swimmer Simone Manuel has made history, becoming the first African-American female swimmer to win an Olympic medal in an individual event. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/s3olympicbilesmanuelcarter.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>After winning an Olympic medal, Simone Manuel said, "It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality. This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on." Manuel’s win was only one of a number of historic Olympic victories for African-American female athletes over the last week. African-American gymnast Simone Biles scored her third gold medal when she became the first American woman to win the Olympic vault individual. And Michelle Carter became the first American woman to win a gold medal in shot put. For more, we speak with Jesse Washington, a senior writer for The Undefeated. He’s covering the Olympics from Rio.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/15/african_american_women_make_olympic_history" width="630"></iframe></p> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 09:17:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061934 at http://personal.alternet.org World Video World simone manuel Protests in Milwaukee Continue After Police Kill 23-Year-Old Black Man http://personal.alternet.org/civil-liberties/protests-milwaukee-continue-after-police-kill-23-year-old-black-man <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Protests are continuing in Milwaukee two days after police shot dead a 23-year-old African-American man named Sylville Smith. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/milwaukee_riots.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>On Sunday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated the National Guard after local residents set fire to police cars and several local businesses, including a gas station, on Saturday night. Seventeen people were arrested. Four police officers were reportedly injured. Milwaukee police say Smith was shot while trying to flee from an officer who had stopped his car. Police Chief Edward Flynn said he had viewed video from the officer’s body camera, and it showed Smith had turned toward him with a gun in his hand after the traffic stop. Many local residents said the tension between their community and the police has been rising for years. Milwaukee is considered to be one of the most segregated cities in the country. We speak with Muhibb Dyer, community activist, poet and co-founder of the organization Flood the Hood with Dreams.</p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/15/this_is_the_madness_they_spark" width="630"></iframe></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Protests are continuing in Milwaukee, two days after police shot dead a 23-year-old African-American man named Sylville Smith. On Sunday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker activated the National Guard, after local residents set fire to police cars and several local businesses, including a gas station, Saturday night. Seventeen people were arrested, four police officers reportedly injured. Last night, two police were reportedly injured, and one person was hospitalized after being shot by an unknown assailant. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett spoke out on Sunday.</p><p>MAYOR TOM BARRETT: Last night was unlike anything I have seen in my adult life in this city. I hope I never see it again. For every member of this police department, it was unlike anything that they had seen in their career. For every member of the fire department, it was unlike anything they had seen in their entire career.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: The Milwaukee Police Department is defending its use of force in the case of Sylville Smith. Police say he was shot while trying to flee from an officer who had stopped his car. Police Chief Edward Flynn said he had viewed video from the officer’s body camera, that hasn’t been released. It showed Smith had turned toward him with a gun in his hand after the traffic stop, he said. Many local residents said the tension between their community and the police has been rising for years. Milwaukee is considered to be one of the most segregated cities in the country. On Saturday, a man identifying himself as the brother of Sylville Smith spoke to the local Milwaukee station CBS 58.</p><p>SEDAN SMITH: Right now, you got a city riot going on, because, once again, the police has failed to protect us like they said they was going to do. They failed to be here for the people like they say they—like they’re sworn in to do. You know? And us as a community, we’re not going to protect ourselves, but if we don’t have anyone to protect us, then this is what you get. You know, you get riots. You got people out here going crazy. We’re losing loved ones every day to the people that’s sworn in to protect us. It’s other stuff that’s going on out here, and you wonder why. It’s ISIS in America.</p><p>EVAN KRUEGEL: Sedan, certainly, people upset here tonight, but we’ve got, you know, innocent business owners who are now going up in flames. What’s it going to take for you guys to be OK tonight and to stop this chaos?</p><p>SEDAN SMITH: It ain’t me. It’s not me. I’m going to let you all know that now. It’s not us guys, neither. And I’m glad that y’all said that. It’s not us. It’s the police. This is the madness that they spark up. This is what they encourage. This is what they provoke. This is what you get. Either you take us from—a loved one from someone. This is what you get. You get a lot of people that’s hurt, and they can’t vent the right way. They can’t no longer depend on the police to be here to protect us like they say they’re going to do. So this is what you get. And, no, it’s not going to end today. I can’t tell you it’s going to end tomorrow. I don’t know when it’s going to end. But it’s for y’all to start. We’re not the ones that’s killing us. Y’all killing us. We can’t make a change if you all don’t change.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That was Sedan Smith, speaking to CBS 58. Smith said he’s the brother of Sylville Smith, the 23-year-old man killed by Milwaukee police on Saturday. For more, we go to Milwaukee, where we’re joined by Muhibb Dyer. He’s a community activist, a poet, co-founder of the organization Flood the Hood with Dreams. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Muhibb. Can you talk us through the weekend, what happened Saturday night, and about the community response? MUHIBB DYER: How are you doing, Ms. Goodman? And it’s a pleasure to be on Democracy Now! today. Well, I mean, as you can see, you know, on a surface level—and I had the opportunity to be out there last night—you see what appears to be complete chaos. Gas stations are being burned. You see individuals riding around, hanging out of cars. In some cases, gunshots everywhere. You see the police, in some cases, taking very provocative stances, provoking certain incidents amongst peaceful demonstrators at times. And then, on the other hand, you see anger, just the anger and the frustration of a community that has suffered atrocities and oppression on behalf of what they deem to be the police oppressive system, that has never seemingly been held accountable for taking the life, like the young man said, of their loved ones. So, when you put that all together, it becomes a powder keg. And it’s the explosion, metaphorically, that you get that’s going on in Milwaukee today.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about what you understand took place on Saturday night with the police killing of Sylville Smith.</p><p>MUHIBB DYER: What I understand now, I mean, is various vantage points, of course, various stories. But what I—the police are saying, what you reported, is that a young man was stopped in a routine traffic stop, I suppose, and he fled an officer. And what—he fled from an officer. And what happened was, at some point, he turned his pistol towards the officer, and the officers say that they justifiably shot him, whereas the reports that’s coming out of the community is that it’s the exact opposite. Some are saying the young man was unarmed and he had no gun on him at all. Some are saying that the young man had a gun, and he was hopping over a fence, and as he hopped over a fence, the gun fell, and he picked up the gun to throw it over the fence, and the officers shot him in the back. So, to put it in a nutshell, we don’t know. We’re going to have to wait for the videotape to be released. So everything now is speculation, and it’s the police’s word against the community’s word.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Why haven’t the police released the video cam of the officer and the officers who were involved in this killing?</p><p>MUHIBB DYER: I don’t know, ma’am. They say it’s—this is their procedure, that it takes time for them to be able to sort through things while they’re doing their own investigation. The reality of the situation that we see in Milwaukee and all over the United States of America is that the community is very frustrated and very upset in terms of what’s going on, because you always have situations where African-American males are being killed, and then you have the police department taking their time releasing their facts. And whether you catch something on videotape—and I guess this is the sentiment of the community—whether it’s on videotape or whether it’s eyewitnesses, we never get our day in court. We never get our day in court. Police officers are never held accountable for the murders of African-American males. It’s always justifiable homicide. They release these reports talking about the character of an individual, which really, I think, creates the condition for public opinion to say, "OK, yes, he deserved it. You know, he had a lengthy police record—he deserved it. He was a thug, he was a criminal—he deserved it." So, I think they build public opinion to such an extent where homicide—like I said before, the homicide of police officers on African-American males always seems to be justified. And they never really talk about what happened in that actual event. They don’t separate the actual event from the person’s character, I guess.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Milwaukee has been described as the most segregated city in America. You grew up there, Muhibb. Can you talk about your city?</p><p>MUHIBB DYER: Yes, I—yes, I can. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And, you know, we lead the nation in many of, what they say, the most critical statistics in this country. You know, we have the fourth highest rate of poverty amongst all cities in America, one statistical poll said. We also are said to have the second highest segregation rate in this country. We have one of the highest incarceration rates amongst African Americans in this country. The school dropout rate is off the charts. So with all of this going on, and the factories have closed, and the economic plight of the city has gone down, growing up in Milwaukee always felt like this was a place of extreme despair. Some good people, very talented individuals, who are striving to make a difference, but that’s juxtaposed with the reality that accomplishment or prosperity or the sense of upward mobility amongst the people is—it’s a very difficult place. And what’s going on, I think, being played out in the streets today, is that you have these young people who feel the hopelessness and who feel the despair, and they want something different. But like the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, the violence is the language of the unheard. How is violence the language of the unheard? he said. He said that America is not listening to the yearnings of freedom and justice, the desire of freedom and justice. And what is America not paying attention to? Dr. Martin Luther King said that white people, for the most part, are so preoccupied with tranquility and status quo, that they are missing the point that freedom and justice and equality are not being met out. And this is Milwaukee.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Milwaukee’s Police Department has a long history of distrust by the black community. Tensions flared in 1991 as Milwaukee police were accused of turning a blind eye as serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer targeted primarily African-American, Latino and Asian boys. He was ultimately convicted of 15 murders in Wisconsin, his story chronicled in the documentary The Jeffrey Dahmer Files. This is Dahmer’s former neighbor, Pamela Bass, talking about the outcry. PAMELA BASS: My sister called my mother. She said, "Look at TV, Ma. Isn’t this Pamela’s building in Milwaukee?"</p><p>REPORTER: Public outcry followed, accusing police of racism and insensitivity to gays. PAMELA BASS: And she saw all the swarm of people around me, so she knew that she couldn’t—I can’t get to her. And I remember I finally got through to her on the phone. She told me, "Don’t watch TV, Pamela. Don’t read none of this."</p><p>POLICE CHIEF PHILIP ARREOLA: As chief, both I and the entire department must accept responsibility for the inept police response of May 27th.</p><p>PAMELA BASS: It was—it was just—I don’t know. I don’t even know what to say about this thing. The city of Milwaukee, to me, just lost. They care nothing about the black community as a whole. They weren’t showing it back then.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That was Pamela Bass, the neighbor of Jeffrey Dahmer, speaking in the documentary The Jeffrey Dahmer Files. Muhibb Dyer, how does what happened with Jeffrey Dahmer affect the way people see what happens in Milwaukee? And then, of course, in 1981, there was Ernest Lacy, who was put in a police car, taken by police; they were just cruising downtown, the police, and he ends up dead in the back of the police car.</p><p>MUHIBB DYER: Well, you know, like I said, it just contributes to what we saw Saturday night and last night, Sunday night. You have a history of, like you said, Ernie Lacy, and you have Daniel Bell, all the way up to a couple years ago in Dontre Hamilton. You have all of these names of individuals who have been murdered by the police. And to my knowledge, they’ve never been convicted of or held accountable for their actions. And a fallback argument all across America every time a police officer murders an African American is, "Well, you all kill each other every night. There is black-on-black crime every night." Like that’s the scapegoat argument. But, ultimately, when black people kill black people, accountability happens: Black people go to jail. And, you know, the thing is, well, why are there not more rioting when violence happens in the African-American community? Because black people go to jail. Black people are held accountable. Black people are given sentences of homicide, where they have to be held accountable for the actions that they take. But when you have individuals, like the young man said, who are supposed to protect and serve, and they come in and they kill you, and there is never any convictions, then the sentiment is, is that we can’t get justice. We can’t get justice.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Muhibb, can you tell us what your T-shirt says?</p><p>MUHIBB DYER: My T-shirt says the "I Will Not Die Young Campaign."</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I—</p><p>MUHIBB DYER: And this is an organization—yes, ma’am?</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Go ahead.</p><p>MUHIBB DYER: The I Will Not Die Young Campaign.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to—for you to end, because I know you have to go teach, with your poem. You are not only a community activist, co-founder of the organization Flood the Hood with Dreams, but you are also a poet. Can you share a poem with us today?</p><p>MUHIBB DYER: Yes, ma’am. Yes, ma’am. And this, I hope, gives the listeners an understanding of the feeling of the despair of a young person that exists in Milwaukee. I want you to see beyond the bottles being thrown. I want you to see beyond the anger and see a young man on his hands and knees looking up to the heavens not knowing if God exists on a street called Burleigh in Milwaukee. And he says, "It’s like I’m sitting in a jail cell, Lord, listen to me. It’s like I’m sitting in a jail cell, God, listen to me. It’s like I’m sitting in a jail cell, Lord, with invisible bars waiting on death row counting down the days because I know they’re coming. You see, I know they’re coming. Them police, them jealous dudes and chicks they’re all coming. And it wasn’t supposed to be like this. “You see, Lord, they never told me you were in me. They never told me you were always there. So, in turn, I believed what I saw. And what I saw was a daddy that was never around and a mama that was always crying because we were always broke when there was money outside, and rats and roaches and pissy mattresses me and my brother slept on when there was money outside, and teachers that told me I had to wait 12 years to get paid. You see, my teachers told me I had to wait 12 years to get paid while all of them got paid off of me right now whether I learned or not when there was money outside. And what else was I supposed to do? “They never told me you were in me, God. They never told me you were always there. And how was I supposed to know that being created in your image and your likeness meant that if you made the Earth, Lord, I can make my own business, and if you made the sun, I could make more than just babies more than just babies but buildings and networks and that busting guns wasn’t the only way to get access to your power, Lord, and shaking these dudes down on the block for this dope money was not the only way to get access to your power, Lord? How was I supposed to know? And how was I supposed to know that downing shots of Hennessy and smoking weed wasn’t the only way to accept this and get to heaven, that I could have gotten down on all fours and talked to you, Lord? “They never told me you were in me. They never told me you were always there. And how was I supposed to know that every time mama was like ’Stay in school, baby, stay off those streets,’ that was you, Lord, and every misdemeanor charge I ever beat, that was you, Lord, every felony charge I ever beat, that was you, Lord, and when those bullets missed me when I was on the block doing wrong, that was you, Lord, and when my boy laid in that casket cold and lifeless, that that was like you was trying to tell me he would be me if I didn’t change? “And now I’ve fallen. My time is up. I know they’re coming. And I don’t even know if you listen to kids like us, Lord. Do you even care about kids like us, Lord? But I know now what I should have known then. And it took me to fall to see the light. You were always in me. You were always there. Forgive me, Lord, for I knew not what I was doing to myself. Please, send me somebody a voice maybe from across the nation a sympathetic voice that understands that I need to be taught something that I’ve never been taught before. Please, send me someone anybody in humanity that can teach me to love me teach me to love me teach me to love me." Thank you.</p> Mon, 15 Aug 2016 09:01:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061932 at http://personal.alternet.org Civil Liberties Civil Liberties Video protests "Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart": NYT Mag Examines Region Since 2003 U.S. Invasion http://personal.alternet.org/world/fractured-lands-how-arab-world-came-apart-nyt-mag-examines-region-2003-us-invasion <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">&quot;Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart&quot; features stories from Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/egypt_2.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>As conflicts from Iraq to Syria have forced a record 60 million people around the world to flee their homes and become refugees, we speak with Scott Anderson about his in-depth new report, "Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart." Occupying the entire print edition of this week’s New York Times Magazine, it examines what has happened in the region in the past 13 years since the the U.S. invaded Iraq through the eyes of six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Anderson is also author of the book, "Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East."</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/12/fractured_lands_how_the_arab_world" width="630"></iframe></p> Fri, 12 Aug 2016 07:58:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061795 at http://personal.alternet.org World Video World iraq Deconstructing Trump's Bizarre Account of America's Mideast Disasters http://personal.alternet.org/world/donald-trump-claims-obama-clinton-founded-isis-bush-negotiated-us-withdrawal-iraq <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Journalist Scott Anderson spoke with Democracy Now! about the rise of Islamic extremism since the Iraq War.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/1024px-iraqi_insurgents_with_guns.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>As Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claims Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton founded the Islamic State by creating a power vacuum when it withdrew from Iraq, journalist Scott Anderson responds with a history lesson about developments in the Middle East since President Bush invaded the country in 2003. "In fact, it was the Bush administration that negotiated the withdrawal of American troops," Anderson says, adding that Trump himself called for the U.S. to leave Iraq as early as 2007.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" scrolling="no" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/12/donald_trump_claims_obama_clinton_founded" width="630"></iframe></p> Fri, 12 Aug 2016 07:51:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061790 at http://personal.alternet.org World Video World iraq Baltimore Residents from Rep. Elijah Cummings to Local Activist Speak Out on Being Stopped by Police http://personal.alternet.org/civil-liberties/baltimore-residents-rep-elijah-cummings-local-activist-speak-out-being-stopped <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The damning report issued by the Justice Department this week about policing in Baltimore highlighted one African-American man in his fifties who was stopped more than 30 times by police.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/elijah_cummings.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Democracy Now! spoke with Maryland Congressmember Elijah Cummings and local activist Ralikh Hayes about their own experiences with police in Baltimore. Cummings says he has been stopped "many times"; Hayes says at least 20 times; meanwhile, reporter Baynard Woods, who is white, says he has never been stopped.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/11/baltimore_residents_from_rep_elijah_cummings" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: During the Democratic National Convention, I caught up with Maryland Congressmember Elijah Cummings, who represents the 7th Congressional District in Baltimore, and I asked him about policing in Baltimore.</p><p>REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: When I talk to police officers in Baltimore, they tell me that they know of people that shouldn’t be on the force. The other thing that we have to acknowledge is that black men are dying, that black mothers are afraid for their sons and are afraid for their husbands and nephews. But the fact is, is that we have to talk together. You know, we have to do what we did at the convention tonight: had the police present and tell what their concerns are, but at the same time have those people who are simply asking for accountability and respect from the police to be able to voice their concerns. And hopefully we have a mutual thing going on there. The police cannot do their jobs without the cooperation of the community, and the community certainly needs the police. OK?</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Have you ever been stopped by the police over the years?</p><p>REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS: Many times. Many times. Many times. And keep in mind what then—as a younger—I got stopped a lot more as a younger man. I’ll never forget one time I was fortunate enough to get an Acura automobile, and I was being stopped almost every week. I was about 32, and I was being stopped every week. AMY GOODMAN: That’s the congressmember, Elijah Cummings, speaking about his own experiences. Ralikh, as you listen to him, your comments on what’s happening at the federal level—he’s a congressman—if you’re satisfied with what he’s doing in his community, in your community, in Baltimore?</p><p>RALIKH HAYES: As of this moment, I am not satisfied with any black elected official that has not signed on for the Vision for Black Lives platform, which is a united front platform from the Movement for Black Lives team, built by over 30 organizations. If he wants my support, that’s how you get it. As far as his story about constantly getting stopped in Baltimore, that’s his story. That’s my story. That’s the story of every black man and person, really, in Baltimore City, particularly trans folk and black men. We also—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Ralikh, how many times have you been stopped?</p><p>RALIKH HAYES: It has to be over 20 at this point.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: On what grounds?</p><p>RALIKH HAYES: It has to be. There’s various times. I’d just be walking around my neighborhood, and I will get stopped as—you know, search me. Like, "Do you live around here?" "Yes, I do." It has lessened recently—well, not recently, but in the last three years or so, because I temporarily served on the Baltimore City Youth Commission, and that’s like a "Oh, you’re one of the good blacks. We can let you go."</p><p>BAYNARD WOODS: And by comparison, I’ve been stopped zero times.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And, Baynard Woods, you—</p><p>RALIKH HAYES: And most of those don’t—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Go ahead, Ralikh. RALIKH HAYES: I was—most of those, I can honestly say, probably never exist on paper. I never got a citation. I may have gotten two citizen citations and a few traffic stops in my life, but the rest of them are directly informal interactions.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Baynard Woods, you have looked at particularly gender bias and trans bias on the part of the police. Explain.</p><p>BAYNARD WOODS: Yeah, so there are just some horrible allegations in the report. They go—they don’t go as far as saying that gender bias violates federal law, but then they point out a number of areas that they find very troubling in terms of gender bias. I mean, in one case, the report cites a police officer who was regularly having sex with a sex worker for U.S. currency and for immunity from prosecution. There are cases where they’re not investigating sexual assault claims. A member of the State’s Attorney’s Office calls a woman who had made a sexual assault report a "conniving whore," and the police officer writes back, "LMAO, I agree." And another police officer said that—who was dealing with sexual assault crimes, that "We don’t have any victims, and all of our cases are"—and then he uses an un-radio-friendly expletive. But it’s just a systematic—and I think if you separated that out, you would find that many of those cases, they don’t look at race and gender together. But many of those cases are black women, and that trans women, being in a place, in an area like a bus stop, and just being there, can be suspicion of soliciting or prostitution. So it takes that loitering aspect and pushes it another step further in really criminalizing being in public as an African American in Baltimore.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to—</p><p>RALIKH HAYES: And actually, you said something—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Go ahead, Ralikh, and we’re going to wrap up with your comment.</p><p>RALIKH HAYES: You said something—you said something really key—right?—which is like the collusion between the State’s Attorney’s Office, and I would also add the FOP in there, in how it, you know, pretty much provides—they provide amnesty for these officers—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: The Fraternal Order of Police.</p><p>RALIKH HAYES: —and don’t allow—yeah, they don’t allow the transparency necessary for accountability, which is why we also would really like a DOJ investigation into the State’s Attorney’s Office. And the FOP should be divested from immediately.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you both for being with us. We will certainly continue to follow this story. Baynard Woods is a journalist who writes for The Guardian. We’ll link to your pieces. And Ralikh Hayes, activist, coordinator of Baltimore Bloc, speaking to us from Baltimore.</p> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 09:20:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061740 at http://personal.alternet.org Civil Liberties Civil Liberties Video trump Handcuffed While Dying: Police Killing of Black Teenager Paul O'Neal Sparks Protests in Chicago http://personal.alternet.org/civil-liberties/handcuffed-while-dying-police-killing-black-teenager-paul-oneal-sparks-protests <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Chicago is once again rocked by protests over police brutality, following the release of video showing the fatal police shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/cphotpuwaaawqg2.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The newly released video from Chicago police body cameras shows the moments before and after police killed 18-year-old Paul O’Neal on July 28. In the video, police are seen shooting repeatedly at the car O’Neal was driving, which police say was stolen. The video then shows a police officer running over to O’Neal, who is lying face down in a growing pool of blood surrounded by other officers. The officers then handcuff O’Neal with his arms behind his back and search his backpack, as he continues bleeding. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office says he was shot in the back. For more, we’re joined by Michael Oppenheimer, the attorney for the family of Paul O’Neal.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/9/handcuffed_while_dying_police_killing_of" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: In Chicago, hundreds of protesters marched through the streets and blocked traffic in a series of demonstrations over the weekend following the release of video showing the fatal police shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager. The newly released video from police body cam shows the moments before and after police killed 18-year-old Paul O’Neal. It was July 28th. In the video, police are seen shooting repeatedly at the car O’Neal was driving, which police say was stolen. The video then shows a police officer running over to O’Neal, who’s lying face down in a growing pool of blood surrounded by other officers. The officers then handcuff O’Neal with his arms behind his back and search his backpack as he continues to bleed. Afterward, one of the officers can be heard complaining he’ll be on desk duty for the 30 next days. Listen carefully.</p><p>POLICE OFFICER: [bleep], man, I’m going to be on a desk for 30 goddamn days now. [bleep] desk duty for 30 days now. Mother [bleep]!</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Paul O’Neal died shortly afterwards at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office says he was shot in the back. Police say they’re investigating why the body camera worn by the police officer who shot O’Neal did not capture the actual moments of the fatal shooting. Three officers have been suspended in relation to the shooting. This is Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaking Monday.</p><p>MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: There’s a gut reaction because it’s a loss of life, and I think it’s a horrible thing, and, as I said, it’s a tragedy. I think what I’m trying to do is get—superintendent took his immediate steps on both the material, getting it out, as well as what he’s done with the officers. I’m reserving any judgment while it’s in the middle of investigation, because there’s a lot of questions, and I probably want to echo what the superintendent says. There are more questions at this time than there are answers, and I don’t want to jump to a conclusion until we know some basic fundamental facts from an event that happened.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: This comes as today marks the second anniversary of the death of African-American teen Michael Brown, who was 18 when he was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson in the suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. For more, we’re joined by two guests. Charlene Carruthers is the national director of the Black Youth Project 100, and Michael Oppenheimer is the attorney for the family of Paul O’Neal. We welcome you both to Democracy Now! First, Michael Oppenheimer, what do you understand took place on July 28th?</p><p>MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER: Well, as the mayor said, there’s a lot of unanswered questions. All we know is that he was in—Paul was an 18-year-old kid who graduated from high school this past year, when he was 17. He was in a stolen car. The police, as you can see from the video that I’ve seen, go on a chase for that stolen car. It looked to me like a police officer got out of the car; as the car was going by, shot improperly at the car. Another police officer, going the wrong way on a one-way street, rammed the car that Paul was in. Paul got out of the car. As he was running away, at some point, although we don’t see it on the body cam, he was shot in the back by unknown police officers.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: They also shot at the car, right?</p><p>MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER: They shot at the car as the car was going by the police officer, yes.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And what has happened at this point? Police officers have been, what, suspended?</p><p>MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER: It is my understanding that police officers involved in the shooting have been suspended by the superintendent, Eddie Johnson, and that’s it. We have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in this case. It was filed last week in federal court. But all that’s happened so far is the police officers have been suspended. As you heard from one of the officers, as he swore, he said, "Now I’m going to be on desk duty for 30 days."</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That was his response to killing a young man.</p><p>MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER: That was his response to a young man lying there bleeding to death on the ground as he was being handcuffed.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And this showing the man, Paul, laying on the ground in his own blood as the pool was getting larger and larger of that blood, and they were busy handcuffing him. MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER: It’s quite disturbing. They’re busy handcuffing him, and while he’s being handcuffed lying there bleeding to death, other officers are checking themselves for injuries. And one officer says, "I think my leg hurts," or something to that effect.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: What about the video? Why didn’t the officer who shot him have his video camera on?</p><p>MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER: Well, that’s the big question. For years, we’ve had other cases that we’ve fought for the release of videos, including Ronald Johnson. You’ve seen the Laquan McDonald video. Traditionally, the Chicago Police Department and the city have fought the release of these videos. Now, in, quote, "a spirit of transparency," they released this video only a few short weeks after the shooting. It’s new technology. And in the age of GoPro and Instagram and all these things, how in the world does the officer who actually shot him—how does his body cam not work? I smell a cover-up. They’re saying he may not have turned it on, or it wasn’t functioning.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: On Friday, the family of Paul O’Neal, who you represent, Michael, called for answers as protesters confronted Chicago’s police superintendent during a news conference. This is O’Neal family spokesperson Ja’Mal Green.</p><p>JA’MAL GREEN: If you looked at the video, one of the body cameras supposedly was not working, but that officer supposedly turned it on as he was leaving the incident. I don’t believe that story. I think we need to investigate more into what happened. I’m putting pressure on Superintendent Johnson to see if that camera was really recording, if that camera was turned off, because it seems to me that all the other cameras were working. That one should have been working, and it shouldn’t have just magically came on after the incident happened.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That’s Ja’Mal Green, family spokesperson. Michael Oppenheimer, you’re their attorney.</p><p>MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER: I couldn’t agree more with Ja’Mal. I mean, how in the world does this camera go off, and then it goes on? I think the investigation needs to show that there may be unknown footage. We’re still doing our investigation.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Charlene Carruthers, you’re national director of Black Youth Project 100. You’ve been out in the streets. Hundreds of people have been protesting. What are you calling for?</p><p>CHARLENE CARRUTHERS: Well, what we’ve witnessed here, once again, is not simply a failure or a technical failure of a piece of equipment, but a failure of the Chicago Police Department to keep black people safe. Here in the city of Chicago, we invest about 40 percent of our public service budget to policing, and the amount of money that’s been invested in body cameras has been astronomical. And for me and for the folks that I work with every single day, body cameras don’t help us sleep at night. What it tells us, that while police officers can have a camera on their body, they can still take it upon themselves to take our lives. And so, we’re calling for what we’ve been calling for: divestment from policing and investment in our communities, so that we can create actual safe communities and not communities that rely on police or prisons to keep us safe.</p> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 09:24:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061594 at http://personal.alternet.org Civil Liberties Activism Civil Liberties Video chicago black lives matter Matt Taibbi: Trump's All White Male Economic Team Includes 'Financial Crisis Villain' John Paulson http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/matt-taibbi-trumps-all-white-male-economic-team-includes-financial-crisis-villain-john <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke at the prestigious Detroit Economic Club Monday, where he laid out his economic vision.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/donald_trump_by_gage_skidmore.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>In his economic policy speech Monday, Donald Trump vowed to slash corporate taxes and end the estate tax. He also said he would reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiate trade deals including NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. This comes after Trump announced his economic team, which includes 13 men, no women, several billionaires, an Oklahoma oil baron and one part-time professional poker player. For more on Donald Trump’s speech on his economic plan and his team, we speak with Matt Taibbi, an award-winning journalist with Rolling Stone magazine. He’s been closely following the Trump campaign. One of his recent pieces is headlined "A Republican Workers’ Party?"</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/9/matt_taibbi_trumps_all_white_male" width="630"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-style: italic;">This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form. </span></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s bring in Matt Taibbi. You’re an award-winning reporter for Rolling Stone. You watched the speech yesterday. First of all, why do you think Donald Trump chose Detroit and the Detroit Economic Club to deliver his economic message?</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Well, I think that the central message that he’s trying to communicate, and he’s trying to make the defining issue of this campaign trade and free trade agreements. Detroit is probably the capital of disenfranchised America. It’s a symbol of what we used to be. It was an industrial powerhouse back in the day, that is now in virtual devastation because the manufacturing sector has been exported to other countries. And I think that’s—that was the key to his speech yesterday, as he was trying to say, "We were a great nation once, and look at what’s happened in the decades since we’ve entered into all these agreements. I, Donald Trump, am going to bring all these jobs back, and here’s how I’m going to do it." And Detroit, of course, had significance in that respect.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Were you surprised by anything in the speech or the overall tone of the speech?</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Well, you know, the beginning of the speech, I was a little bit surprised that he led with what sounded like warmed-over versions of previous Republican messages on taxes. You know, he had this new proposal to simplify the tax code and only have three tax rates. He wants to reduce the corporate tax rate to 15 percent. These kinds of proposals are not what won him the primary. What really—you know, apart from the racial aspect of his campaign, it was the message on trade that I think that really separated him from the other candidates, and he ended up emphasizing that much more later in the speech. I was a little surprised that he led with the tax aspect of it. But as it went on, the speech made more sense. And I think, you know, it did highlight a weakness in the Democratic position that can be exploited.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s talk about his tax proposal: three brackets—12 percent, 25 percent, 33 percent—0 percent for the poorest, and then cutting the cap on taxes for business to 15 percent. MATT TAIBBI: Right. And also he says he’s going to repeal the carried-interest tax break, which makes him about the 5,000th politician who has proposed to do that. But that, of course, never happens. So—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: But what about these?</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Well, these—again, these are standard-issue Republican tax proposals, again, describing the Democrats as tax-and-spend politicians who raise taxes and choke small businesses. You know, this goes back to Steve Forbes and the flat-tax proposals. It’s the same thing that we’ve seen over and over again from Republicans in years past, which I thought was unusual because Trump’s whole message is "I’m different from these other people who have come before you. I am a completely new animal. I’m not the same kind of politician." These proposals are very similar to proposals that we’ve seen from other sort of tea party Republicans in the past. AMY GOODMAN: I want to talk about his economic team that he announced on Friday, including 13 men, no women, several billionaires, an Oklahoma oil baron and one part-time professional poker player, also one of the members, John Paulson, who made billions betting against the housing market in the lead-up to the 2008 crash. Matt Taibbi? MATT TAIBBI: Yeah, John Paulson, to me, was a very surprising choice, because it completely undercuts his ability, I think, to make the accusation that Hillary Clinton is a shill for Wall Street, if one of your main economic advisers is John Paulson, who is sort of at the head of the table at the list of 2008 financial crisis villains. He was a central figure in the so-called Abacus affair. He was a hedge fund guy who assembled a kind of born-to-lose portfolio of mortgage instruments. And Goldman Sachs put it together, and a couple of European banks ended up getting bilked out of a couple of billion dollars thanks to this deal. Goldman got in a lot of trouble; Paulson did not. But nonetheless, he remained a symbol of the kind of cynical maneuvering that went on during the 2008 period. And for Trump to make him one of his leading advisers, it seems to me, makes it very difficult for him to level any criticisms at Hillary Clinton on the Wall Street score.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And the poker player?</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Yeah, I don’t know much about the poker player, but I think it fits in with, you know, the personality of Donald Trump’s campaign. It’s almost like he’s assembling a cast of a reality TV show.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: You know, it’s interesting. The Republican convention took place in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena—</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Right.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: —what they call the Q. The Democratic convention took place in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center.</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Right.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the significance, I mean, maybe the symbol, of these two centers and these two companies and what they’ve done in this country.</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: I mean, it’s hilarious, right? It’s like American democracy, brought to you by the mortgage lending industry, you know, or supermarket banking in the case of Wells Fargo. You know, these—we forget that these presidential campaigns are essentially funded by a lot of the companies that are at the heart of a lot of the controversies that we’re supposedly talking about. I mean, if we’re talking about too-big-to-fail banks and what to do about them, well, Wells Fargo is at or near the top of the list of those companies, and yet it’s the Wells Fargo Center that the Democratic convention is held in. So, it’s—I think it’s interesting. I think we’re so used to hearing the corporate sponsorship of democracy that we don’t even pay attention anymore to these details.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Matt Taibbi, the piece you wrote, "A Republican Workers’ Party?" what did you mean?</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Well, there’s a lot of talk now among some conservative intellectuals, people from like the National Review and Ross Douthat from The New York Times, that because of the reality of what happened in the Trump campaign, the Republican Party has to recognize that its constituency is really largely made up of working-class white people, and that they should readjust their policies accordingly to become a party that more naturally appeals to that constituency. And they’re talking about, you know, more aggressively embracing issues that are important to working-class people. Now, of course, they’re never going to be a union-friendly party, but the fact that they even have this idea in their head, the fact that those voters have already defected to the Republican Party, the traditional explanation for that is that they’ve been sort of hoodwinked into voting against their own interest because they’ve been appealed—there have been cynical appeals on race and cultural issues. But I don’t think that’s the entire story. I think a lot of it does have to do with things like free trade deals, which have turned off some of these voters to the Democratic Party, and they are there for the taking. So, I guess what I was really trying to say is, the fact that they’re even having this discussion speaks to a huge failure on the part of the Democratic Party that they’ve even lost these voters to begin with.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: You know, something interesting happened over the weekend with Tim Kaine, the vice-presidential nominee of the Democrats. He said he’ll oppose the TPP. You know, he has come out for it until as recently as a couple days before he was nominated by Hillary Clinton, angering many who are deeply concerned about the TPP, which is a deal that would encompass 12 Pacific Rim nations, including the U.S. Both Clinton and Trump now say they’re opposed to it, amidst this wave of public protest, to those who say it benefits corporations at the expense of health and environmental regulations. But this is Senator Kaine speaking Sunday on NBC. SEN. TIM KAINE: Companies were given rights to enforce provisions, but the labor and environmental provisions could not be effectively enforced. That was never fixed. I’ve asked again and again to understand this piece of the TPP, and I’ve never gotten a good answer. We can’t have a deal that cannot be enforced.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I mean, it’s interesting that Senator Kaine is talking about these corporate counsels, he, again, one of 13 Democratic senators to vote to give President Obama the power to fast-track the TPP.</p><p>MATT TAIBBI: Right, but this goes back to NAFTA. This goes back to the original free trade agreements. They all had provisions in them that supposedly were going to provide for worker protections and to prevent things like signatory countries manipulating currencies or using their own protectionist measures to keep our products out, to prevent human rights abuses, human trafficking. I mean, Malaysia is in this deal. Of course, those things are never paid attention to in these deals. The only thing these deals really effectively do is they allow Western companies to move to these sort of unfree labor zones, where they get to exploit extremely low-paid, politically unfree workers. And that’s the real part of these deals. The part that supposedly provides any worker protections never materializes.</p> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 09:02:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061593 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Video economic economy trump Murdered by a SWAT Team for Traffic Tickets: Inside the Police Killing of Black Mother Korryn Gaines http://personal.alternet.org/activism/murdered-swat-team-traffic-tickets-inside-police-killing-black-mother-korryn-gaines <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Nonviolent protesters take to the streets, and activist Charlene Carruthers breaks down discrimination against black women. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/korryn.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>In New York City on Monday, more than 100 people marched to protest the recent police killing of 23-year-old Korryn Gaines in Maryland after what Balitmore police say was an armed standoff. Police were at Gaines’ apartment to execute an arrest warrant related to a traffic violation. They initially said they entered Gaines’ apartment with a key obtained from her landlord. But court documents say police kicked down the door.</p><p>Once the police entered the apartment, Gaines was live-streaming the standoff via Facebook before her account was shut down. Police say they shot and killed Gaines after she pointed a shotgun at them. Police also say they shot her 5-year-old son, Kodi Gaines, who suffered an injury to his cheek but survived.</p><p>We speak to protesters in New York and to Charlene Carruthers, the national director of the Black Youth Project 100.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/9/murdered_by_a_swat_team_for" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to yet another police killing. On Monday, over a hundred people marched in downtown Manhattan protesting the recent police shooting of Korryn Gaines in Maryland. Police say they shot and killed her after she pointed a rifle at them. Her five-year-old son was in the apartment with her and was injured in the gunfire. Police were at Gaines’ apartment to execute an arrest warrant related to a traffic violation. We hear first from Gem Isaac of Why Accountability.</p><p>GEM ISAAC: As women, we must support each other. Korryn Gaines was a fearless, unapologetic black woman. What we did today is called People’s Monday. For over a year and a half, the NYC Shut It Down Crew has highlighted a victim of police murder. Unfortunately, today’s focus was on Korryn Gaines. And as you know, she was murdered by a SWAT team over traffic tickets.</p><p>PROTESTER 1: [echoed by the People’s Mic] We must love and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.</p><p>VIENNA RYE: Vienna Rye, and I’m with Millions March NYC. Today we were uplifting Korryn Gaines, who was murdered by Baltimore Police Department. We began—we exited Abolition Square, formerly known as City Hall Park, and we went—we took the streets, went through Fulton Center, through Shake Shack, where we shut down Shake Shake, essentially just shut down the streets all around Lower Manhattan.</p><p>PROTESTER 2: [echoed by the People’s Mic] We are here tonight, because while you are dining, black people are dying at the hands of the police.</p><p>VIENNA RYE: Korryn Gaines is just a highlight of, you know, what the police institution does, right? It literally is murdering, you know, especially black women, black people, with their children in their laps. It’s complete genocide, and it has to end.</p><p>GEM ISAAC: My name is Gem Isaac. I want these protests to commemorate in history that black, brown and indigenous people did not lay down and allow oppression to just take over their lives. I want these protests to show the world and to show Africans in America, Africans in Africa, Africans in the Caribbean, Africans in Europe, that it is time to organize and mobilize for black liberation.</p><p>PROTESTERS: Korryn Gaines! Rest in power! Korryn Gaines! Say her name! Korryn Gaines! Say it louder! Korryn Gaines! Say it louder! Korryn Gaines! Say it louder! Korryn Gaines!</p><p>SHANNON JONES: Change is not going to happen because the dominant power structure decides they want to relent. It will not. That is the work that we have to continue to do. And whether that means we leave people behind in order to push forward, that’s what we are going to do. No justice, no peace, because that’s exactly what it means. If we don’t get any justice, then there won’t be any peace.</p><p>PROTESTERS: Whose streets? Our streets! Whose streets? Our streets! Whose streets? Our streets!</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That was Shannon Jones of Why Accountability. Baltimore County police killed a 23-year-old African-American woman on August 1st after an armed standoff. Her name was Korryn Gaines. She was live-streaming the standoff via Facebook before her account was shut down. Police say she had pointed a shotgun at police. Her five-year-old son was in the apartment with her and was injured by gunfire. Police were at Gaines’ apartment to execute an arrest warrant related to a traffic violation earlier this year. Police have not said who fired the shot that injured Gaines’ son. Police initially said they entered Korryn Gaines’ apartment with a key obtained from her landlord, but court documents say police kicked down the door. And that’s the latest that we have on her situation. Now, Charlene Carruthers, you wrote a piece about Korryn Gaines. What did you say?</p><p>CHARLENE CARRUTHERS: Well, when I first learned about the execution of Korryn Gaines, it felt deeply personal, as a black woman, as a black woman who wants to one day become a mother myself. I thought about how Korryn had to make a choice in that particular moment, a rare choice that most people never make. You know, lots of people romanticize taking up arms in self-defense, in armed self-defense, but Korryn Gaines made the rare choice to defend herself and her son. And so, for me, this is very clear that this is an issue of policing and an issue of reproductive injustice, and that if we’re going to be serious about achieving black liberation in this country, the issues of black women and children have to be at the center, at the forefront, and not on the margins. And so, you know, there has been so much speculation about Korryn Gaines and her life, people depicting her in popular tropes of being an aggressive black woman, and really what it does, it says that there’s something pathological about Korryn and about black mothers and about black women who decide not to be passive victims, and people who aren’t perfect victims, either. And so I wrote the piece to be in defense of black women, of Korryn Gaines and black children, and really to hope to serve as one more person adding to a national call to action to defend black women.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: The son, Korryn Gaines’ son, police do say they shot him. And I wanted to turn to something that The Intercept has just written. They say that "At the request of law enforcement, Facebook deleted Gaines’ account, as well as her account on Instagram, which it also owns, during her confrontation with authorities. While many of her videos remain inaccessible, in one, which was re-uploaded to YouTube, an officer can be seen pointing a gun as he peers into a living room from behind a door, while a child’s voice is heard in the background. In another video, which remains on Instagram, Gaines can be heard speaking to her five-year-old son, who’s sitting on the floor wearing red pajamas." There was a Facebook blackout, Charlene—is that right—on Sunday, people protesting that Facebook had shut down her account as she live-streamed?</p><p>CHARLENE CARRUTHERS: Yes. So, people are very clear that in addition to police having too much power over our lives, that corporations like Facebook leverage their relationships with law enforcement agencies to increase the power that they have over our lives. I believe that Korryn Gaines was engaged in, you know, the tradition of Ida B. Wells, truth telling—right?—exposing what was happening not just in that moment, but we know that Korryn also has a history of recording interactions with law enforcement officers. And so, we—our folks are smart, and we know that when we call for a boycott of a corporation on a particular day, that our hope is to send a signal to yet another corporation and also to policing institutions that we know that you have too much power over our lives, and we know that we also are the fuel in which you are able to profit and to exist. And so, I hope that efforts to make those connections between corporations and policing institutions continue, because what they do is they tell us lessons about capitalism and how capitalism does not serve our people well, and that the violence that we experience in tandem in places of reproductive justice, in our homes with police, even within the education system, those are connected to systems of capitalism, and that we have to dismantle those things at the same time, if we’re interested in creating a world that’s actually safe for our children, where black women, black people, black trans folk, black queer folk can actually parent if we want to, parent, choose to not parent, and when we do choose to parent, we’re able to do that and keep our children safe and have all the resources that we need.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to—</p><p>CHARLENE CARRUTHERS: And that’s reproductive justice.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to end with Michael Oppenheimer. You’ve represented a number of people in police brutality cases in Chicago. What are you calling for right now? How does Paul O’Neal fit into this story as we speak on the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown?</p><p>MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER: It would take hours, but we need—first of all, I’m asking for a special prosecutor to be appointed to look into this case immediately, so there’s no bias. They can look in and see what went on. I’m calling for answers to these questions. And we need to have programs where the police can interact with people in the community. So, like she said, we can have body cameras and depict this, but we need to have this stop. We need to have people in the community interacting with the police in a positive way. I’m calling for a special prosecutor in this case. And police need to be held accountable, just like any other profession, if they screw up.</p> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 08:53:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061591 at http://personal.alternet.org Activism Activism Civil Liberties korryn gaines Trump's Economic Speech In Detroit Was Protested By A UAW Autoworker and Undecided Voter http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/meet-jacqui-maxwell-uaw-autoworker-who-interrupted-trumps-economic-speech-detroit <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">On Monday, protesters interrupted Donald Trump more than a dozen times during a speech at the Detroit Economic Club, in which Trump laid out his economic policies.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/s2trumpprotest_v2.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>During his economic policy speech, Trump vowed to slash corporate taxes and end the estate tax. He also said he would reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiate trade deals including NAFTA. For more on Donald Trump’s speech and the interruptions, we speak with Jacqui Maxwell, a crane operator and a member of the United Auto Workers. She interrupted Donald Trump’s speech at the Detroit Economic Club on Monday.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/9/meet_jacqui_maxwell_the_uaw_autoworker" width="640"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke at the prestigious Detroit Economic Club Monday, where he laid out his economic vision. Trump vowed to slash corporate taxes and end the estate tax. He also said he would reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiate trade deals including NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump’s speech was interrupted more than a dozen times by protesters.</p><p>DONALD TRUMP: Without security, there can be no prosperity.</p><p>PROTESTER: [inaudible]</p><p>DONALD TRUMP: Home ownership is at its lowest rate in 51 years.</p><p>PROTESTER: [inaudible]</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: During Trump’s speech at the Detroit Economic Club, he vowed to push an "America First" economic plan.</p><p>DONALD TRUMP: Americanism, not globalism, will be our new credo. Our country will reach amazing new heights, maybe heights never attained before. All we have to do is stop relying on the tired voices of the past. We can fix a rigged system by relying on the people, who—and just remember, this is so important—we are reliant on people that rigged this system in the past. We can’t fix it if we’re going to rely on those people again.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about Donald Trump’s speech, we are joined by two guests. Jacqui Maxwell is a crane operator and a member of the United Auto Workers. She interrupted his speech at the Detroit Economic Club Monday. And Matt Taibbi is an award-winning journalist with Rolling Stone magazine. He’s been closely following the Trump campaign, one of his recent pieces headlined "A Republican Workers’ Party?" Matt Taibbi is also the author of several best-selling books, including The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. Let’s go to Jacqui first, Jacqui Maxwell in Detroit. Why did you interrupt the speech? How did you get in, and what were you shouting?</p><p>JACQUI MAXWELL: Good morning. I received a ticket from a friend of a friend. I was asked to participate with Michigan People’s Campaign. My question that I asked of Trump in this speech, when I interrupted his speech, was: How did he feel it was winning for Michigan automotive workers to cut our pay and to threaten to move our jobs elsewhere in the country, where people would work for less pay and we would be begging for our jobs back?</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: How does his proposals suggest that that would happen, Jacqui?</p><p>JACQUI MAXWELL: Approximately—almost a year ago to the date, actually, to this week, he made those statements that U.S. auto workers, we make too much money, we’re overpaid, that maybe we should move those auto jobs, automotive jobs, in Michigan, where people will be more appreciative of lower wages, they’d work for less, and then the Michigan automotive workers would be begging to have their jobs back.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Actually, it was an interview in The Detroit News a year ago. So, to quote him exactly, Donald Trump advocating for lowering Michigan automotive workers’ pay by moving factories outside the state, as you said, he said, "You can go to different parts of the United States and then ultimately you’d do full-circle—you’ll come back to Michigan because those guys are going to want their jobs back even if it is less. ... [After Michigan] loses a couple of plants—all of sudden you’ll make good deals in your own area," unquote. Jacqui Maxwell?</p><p>JACQUI MAXWELL: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m referring to.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, how did you get into the club? And what was Donald Trump’s response?</p><p>JACQUI MAXWELL: We received tickets via email from a friend of a friend. I did not know the person that sent the tickets. They arrived in my email.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: How many of you protested?</p><p>JACQUI MAXWELL: There were approximately 17 of us inside.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And was anyone arrested?</p><p>JACQUI MAXWELL: No, we were not arrested. Secret Service escorted us out. They were firm but were not abusive in any way. And once we were outside of the ballroom, DPD took over, and they—there was a gentleman that just took our name off of our identification, and that was it. DPD just walked us to the door politely outside of Cobo Hall.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Jacqui, can you describe your job as a crane operator? And talk about the jobs in Detroit. How many have been lost?</p><p>JACQUI MAXWELL: There are many jobs that are lost when the automotive industry went through its transition. The numbers in the UAW membership did fall. A lot of that is due to plant closing. A lot of that is due to things becoming more—automation, automotive industry downsizing somewhat. I am a crane operator. I operate a steel crane. It’s about 90 feet in the air. I haul, on average, 40,000- to 50,000-pound coils of steel, that are used not only in the automotive industry but in other manufacturing sectors.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, overall, what is your message to Donald Trump?</p><p>JACQUI MAXWELL: I want—I would like Mr. Trump to address that statement that he made. And how does he think that that is a win for the Michigan automotive industry, for Michiganders as a whole? The automotive industry is the backbone of Michigan and in the Midwest. It is our economy here. Without the automotive industry, Michigan would be an economic disaster. Whether it’s the independent parts supplier, privately owned parts supplier, to the big parts suppliers, it’s just—it’s a tremendous amount of our economic base here in Michigan.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And do you think that Hillary Clinton has a better message? What about also third parties? And who are you supporting?</p><p>JACQUI MAXWELL: I’m going to vote with my conscience. As a rule, I never tell anybody who to vote for. I say you look at the candidate, whether it’s Democratic or Republican, and you look at how they can benefit your household, your family’s needs, and you vote with your conscience. You make an educated vote, as long as you vote. That’s the key. And I would like to—I’d like to hear Hillary’s stance on bringing jobs to Michigan, jobs especially in areas like the metropolitan Detroit area, what she plans to do. I’d like to hear her position on foreign trade. And, you know, then I can make my decision.</p> Tue, 09 Aug 2016 08:37:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061589 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Video Autoworker detroit trump Google in the White House? Assange Warns of Close Ties Between Hillary Clinton & Internet Giant http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/google-white-house-assange-warns-close-ties-between-hillary-clinton-internet-giant <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The connection between Google, the Clinton campaign and the Pentagon is a &quot;triangle [that] is extremely worrying,&quot; says Julian Assange.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/9260194206_1aef8f26b0_z.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>During the Green Party convention in Houston, Texas, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spoke via video stream on the relationship between Hillary Clinton, the State Department and the internet giant Google.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/8/google_in_the_white_house_assange" width="630"></iframe></p><p>TRANSCRIPT</p><div><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></div><p><strong>DAVID COBB:</strong> I’m reminded of the great political philosopher Lily Tomlin, who said, "No matter how cynical I get, it’s hard to keep up." Julian, Greens, like most Americans, are disgusted by the collusion between Wall Street, multinational corporations and our own government. We know, as most Americans do, that these large corporations are no longer merely exercising power, they are literally ruling over us. In your book, <em>When Google Met WikiLeaks</em>, you describe, quote, "a special relationship," end-quote, between Google, the U.S. State Department and Hillary Clinton. Could you talk about that, please?</p><p><strong>JULIAN ASSANGE:</strong> Well, I just want to correct, very quickly, some false reporting. So, very interestingly, when we published the DNCleaks, <em>The New York Times</em>, which has picked its favorite candidate, as has Bloomberg, which is Hillary Clinton, said that I intended to harm Hillary Clinton. This is what we’ve been doing for 10 years. It was a completely fabricated story by Charlie Savage. OK.</p><p>But, yes, we are very interested in power and publishing the truth about power, so people can work out however they choose to reform power. And so, Google is a kind of new power on the block, so we are interested in it, and we’re also interested in Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state and now, I mean, the presidential candidacy. So, these two powers have merged at a kind of personal level and political level, and even, to a small extent, at the organizational level. So, that book, written three years ago, has been proved to be very prescient.</p><p>The chairman of Google, who was the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, has started, about a year ago, a company to run Hillary Clinton’s digital campaign. Google has been to the White House, on average over the last four years, once per week—more than any other single company. It spends more money lobbying Washington, D.C., than any other single company. Hillary Clinton’s former staffer, Jared Cohen, was hired by Google in 2009 to head up Google’s internal think tank. There’s a lot of other interconnections between Google and the state. Eric Schmidt is now also, at the same time as being chairman of what is now Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is chairman of the Pentagon innovation board.</p><p>So you have a connection between Google, the Clinton campaign, which will be almost certainly the next White House, and the Pentagon. And this triangle is extremely worrying, because, as time goes by, Google is understanding that it does have an ability to influence election campaigns. It’s also bought more than 10 drone companies. It’s integrating its mapping data in order to better be able to fly and navigate drones around the world, is expanding into every country in the world.</p><p>And it has a very strange, quasi-religious vision of the future, of this vision of the singularity. It’s really a—I’ve done research that it’s very disturbing what they believe in Silicon Valley, that they believe they can create a massive artificial intelligence, more powerful than any human being or any society’s ability to think. And, of course, we all know what happens when such power is in limited hands.</p><p>And so, Google in the White House will be, essentially, an unregulatable company. It’s a question whether it’s already unregulatable, but you can—you can just completely forget about any kind of antitrust legislation being used on Google if there is a Hillary Clinton White House.</p><p><strong>DAVID COBB:</strong> Julian, I’m reminded that Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator, said that fascism more appropriately should be called corporatism, because it merges the private power of corporations with the military might of the nation-state. And, of course, he thought that was a good thing. It occurs to me that you were describing our newer, kinder, gentler, smiling face of fascism, where all of the information that we receive is controlled by that same collusion between government and major transnational corporations, and now our ability to even talk to myself, or ourselves. Am I being overdramatic, or do I understand you correctly?</p><p><strong>JULIAN ASSANGE:</strong> Well, it could be both. It could be both. No, it is—it is possibly the most serious issue. The potential threat of nuclear war, I think, is perhaps the other one. Yes, there is a merger going on at a rapid pace between the largest American corporations and the traditional aspects of the U.S. state, the military intelligence aspects. I mean, that’s been there for a long time, frankly, with Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, General Electric, etc. But this is a new generation. And Eric Schmidt wrote in his book about Google and the world that what Lockheed Martin and other aerospace companies were to the 20th century, high-tech companies will be to the 21st century. And that’s very much their vision, to integrate with Washington, to prevent antitrust regulation and to be part of that family of traditional D.C.-mediated power.</p><p><strong>DAVID COBB:</strong> Julian, Greens, like most Americans, have been horrified to learn—and, for many of us, have it objectively collaborated—that multinational corporations and wealthy oligarchs are literally directing U.S. foreign policy. So I have a question for you, because of your unique vantage point: What advice, if any, would you give the next president of the United States about how to shift that policy, given the reality that she might be facing?</p><p><strong>JULIAN ASSANGE:</strong> Well, that’s a very interesting question. Does it make any difference who is president or not? A very, very interesting question. It certainly doesn’t make as much difference as people say. What really makes a difference is what the environment is in which the president has to work. And that is the environment of critique, on the one hand, to how free the media is, how much opposition organizations are doing their job in holding government to account. And it’s the economic and corporate environment, and then, to a degree, the international foreign affairs environment. And the president is much more a spokesperson for these forces around them.</p><p>Where they do make a big difference is in their initial appointments, so the people that they choose to fill those spots in government that then reactively makes policy. But as you can see with Barack Obama, most of the time is spent reading out teleprompters. There’s just not enough time to do much else than be a spokesperson for these groups. So, what is happening now, with the Green Party and Gary Johnson and the Bernie Sanders campaign and so on, is very, very important, but it must be seen past the moment, past this political moment. That’s a moment to build a movement and build pressure. And having built it, then one can discipline and hold to account and check the abuses of government during the next four years.</p><p><strong>AMY GOODMAN:</strong> WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaking at the Green Party convention in Houston, being interviewed by former Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb. Assange’s books include <em>When Google Met WikiLeaks</em>, which is based on Assange’s meeting with Google CEO Eric Schmidt five years ago, when Assange was under house arrest in England, before he was granted political asylum in Ecuador, now living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, afraid if he steps foot outside, he’ll be arrested and ultimately extradited to the United States, where there, it is believed, a sealed indictment against him for WikiLeaks. We’ll be back with more of the conversation between Julian Assange and David Cobb in a minute.</p><div> </div><p> </p> Mon, 08 Aug 2016 08:31:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061511 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Video wikileaks hillary clinton 'When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers': How Private Equity Profits off Our Daily Lives (Video) http://personal.alternet.org/economy/when-you-dial-911-and-wall-street-answers-how-private-equity-profits-our-daily-lives-video <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">When you woke up this morning, chances are your morning routine was touched in some way by a private equity firm.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_189611477-edited.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>From the water you drink to the roads you drive to work, to the morning newspaper you read, Wall Street firms are playing an increasingly influential role in daily life. So says a compelling new article in The New York Times, "This Is Your Life, Brought to You by Private Equity." For more, we speak with New York Times reporter Danielle Ivory, one of the contributors to the series as well as co-author of the recent article "When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers."</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/3/when_you_dial_911_and_wall" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: When you woke up this morning, chances are your morning routine was touched in some way by a private equity firm. From the water you drink to the roads you drive to work, to the morning newspaper you read, Wall Street firms are playing an increasingly influential role in daily life. So says a compelling new article in The New York Times, "This Is Your Life, Brought to You by Private Equity." The multimedia infographic chronicles how, since the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms have bought underperforming businesses and worked to maximize profits, only to sell them off.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Now Wall Street investors are controlling critical public services in municipalities across the country, including fire and ambulance. According to the report, under the control of private equity firms, response times for fire and ambulance services have often increased, companies have fallen into bankruptcy, residents have been made to pay higher costs for poorer service. Well, for more, we’re joined by New York Times reporter Danielle Ivory, one of the contributors to the series, as well as co-author of the recent article, "When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers." Welcome to Democracy Now!, Danielle. </p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: Thank you very much for having me on.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So why don’t we start there: When you call 911, Wall Street answers? What do you mean?</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: Right. Well, my colleagues and I have been spending the last year looking at how private equity has increasingly crept into the lives of Americans, and especially into critical services, so emergency services, the fire department. So, what we looked at are companies that are taking over ambulance companies. They’ll—you know, if you dial 911 and the ambulance picks you up, you dial 911 because your house is on fire and the fire department shows up, but it’s actually controlled by a private equity company.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: So, for example, we looked at two companies very, very deeply: Rural/Metro and TransCare. So, Rural/Metro is a company that was backed by Warburg Pincus, taken into bankruptcy and then taken out of bankruptcy by Oaktree Capital Management, among other investors. And this is a company that does ambulance services nationwide, and it also does fire services in three states—in Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee. And the two services are a little bit different, so it’s important to separate them. But Rural/Metro, when they pick you up in an ambulance, they may send you a large bill afterwards, they may go after you in court if you don’t pay that bill. And we also found that, on fire, you might think that you’re paying your fire department out of taxes, but, in fact, if you don’t subscribe to Rural/Metro service and you have a fire, Rural/Metro might show up, put out the fire, maybe your house burns down to the ground, and then you get a bill for multiple thousands of dollars. And we found numerous court cases where Rural/Metro had gone after people in court for bills that ranged up to—I think $59,000 was the highest bill that we found.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, why do you suspect this is occurring post the Great Recession? Is it basically private equity seeking out new markets and trying to carve out sections of government to privatize even further?</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: Right. So, private equity saw this as a growth area. So, firms saw that towns were increasingly cash-strapped and looking to outsource some of these services. They’re expensive. You have to pay for pension plans. So, this was—this was really a bet. And also, we had the emergence of Obama’s healthcare reform. So, with—along with Obamacare, you have this possibility of adding more and more people to insurance rolls. In some ways, that might not have been the smartest bet. What private equity firms thought that they were going to see were more and more people added to insurance that would pay for these bills. But instead, more and more people were added to Medicaid, and Medicaid restricts the most aggressive billing collection practices.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: What happens when these companies go bankrupt?</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: Well, so, in the case of Rural/Metro, they went into bankruptcy, but they were taken out of bankruptcy. So, really, there wasn’t—although there were a lot of worries about the company failing and leaving towns, they stayed in those towns. Services may have gotten poorer. And as we saw in the major markets that we looked at, services did get poorer. For a company like TransCare, TransCare filed for bankruptcy right in our own backyard, in Brooklyn, in February. And that is a company that filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, so it closed its doors forever. And towns were left in the lurch. So you had towns that were literally like scrambling to find another company that could come in and perform their ambulance services, and sometimes paying more money for it because of that.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I want to turn to an interview that Lynn Tilton, the CEO of Patriarch Partners, did with The Wall Street Journal in 2014. Patriarch controlled TransCare EMS, an ambulance service, as you mentioned, which went bankrupt and closed its doors in February.</p><p>LYNN TILTON: One of the major facets of buying distressed companies is buying a brand name that people recognize. And MD Helicopters was the house that Howard Hughes built. I mean, the helicopters go back to the Vietnam era, the first real scout helicopter, the OH-6. And it has this great history and this great legacy, and it was going to disappear. ... I buy companies at their deepest, darkest moment. Every company I buy would not be here but for the purchase. OK? So, I go as far down the food chain of the living. And so, that means that not everything is going to make it.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Lynn Tilton. She’s quoted in your article as saying TransCare, quote, "faced the obstacles inherent to its business model" and that its collapse was due to problems beyond Patriarch’s control. Talk about Tilton’s role in TransCare’s demise.</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: Well, it’s a very interesting thing, because as we talked to Lynn Tilton and Patriarch Partners, they really tried to distance themselves from the company. And I think that’s reflected in the article. They really tried to emphasize that the fund that owned TransCare was solely owned by Lynn Tilton, not directly owned by Patriarch. And what we found is that Lynn Tilton was the sole member of the board for TransCare, which is basically unheard of in the corporate world—really, as one governance expert put it to us, a recipe for disaster. We also found, because we got hundreds of pages of internal emails and also executive meeting minutes from TransCare meetings, that Patriarch Partners executives, including Lynn Tilton, but not limited to Lynn Tilton, were very heavily involved in the company and, as far back as a year ago, were discussing in these meetings that the company might not make it through the weekend, because it didn’t have enough medical supplies.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, I can see the ambulance services, in terms of they have a regular cash flow in terms of insurance reimbursements or even government, if it’s Medicaid, but what about fire companies? How do these private equities get into fire companies? And how do they get their revenue there?</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: So, fire is a really interesting thing. And I should say that it’s not something that was limited to the private equity ownership of Rural/Metro, but we just thought it was so unusual and interesting, that it would really be irresponsible not to report on it. What we found with this company is that—and they still do this now, and they are not owned by private equity anymore. They’re owned by a company called Envision. It’s a healthcare company that also used to be owned by private equity, is no longer owned by private equity. Rural/Metro has a subscription service that is based on your property size. So, you might pay an annual bill of a couple hundred dollars. And under that agreement, then Rural/Metro will show up, put out your fire, and you don’t pay a dime. But a lot of people don’t really understand that. I mean, you and I, when we pay our taxes, that covers the fire department. So, someone might have a fire, call 911, the fire department shows up, puts out the fire, and then, you know, a few weeks later, they get a bill for $10,000, $15,000. And people just don’t understand that. They don’t understand why they’re getting a bill from the fire department. And then they end up in court. And it really just ends up being this like very stressful situation for some people. And these are people that generally live kind of outside of urban areas; these are people that are living kind of off the grid. So, it’s a really scary thing to suddenly be getting a court summons because you owe, you know, $20,000 to your fire department.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And for people who don’t understand what private equity is, explain. And explain who is profiting here.</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: Right. So these are companies that are based on Wall Street. And this is a little bit of a generalization, but sort of the basic concept is you have investors that are looking for distressed companies, that are looking for undervalued, underperforming companies. And they want to buy them and make them into better and overperforming companies, companies that are going to make a lot of money, and, in some cases, sell those companies for a lot of money.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I just wanted to read—I mean, you have this amazing multimedia display on this, and I’d like to talk about that for a moment. But there’s one part where it says, from the—let’s see. It says, "from the clock on your wall to the toilet paper in your bathroom. ... Wall Street firms can also be found in your parking garage, where they collect your cash. ... Private equity ... helps oversee public golf courses in several states ... it builds courthouses. ... Now [that] you’ve made it to work, you might be sitting inside a building controlled by Blackstone, a huge private equity firm and one of the largest landlords in the country." Talk about Blackstone. And talk about this every—the idea of this being every aspect of our lives.</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: Well, it really is every aspect of our lives. And some of those aspects are not really critical to your life. I mean, if the clock on your wall has been—the company that makes the clock has been backed by private equity, that probably isn’t going to affect you very much at all. But in this case, Blackstone is one of the largest private landlords in the country and has kind of come in where banks have stepped back from mortgage practices. And what we’ve seen is that they’re making some of the same mistakes that the banks made during the financial crisis or in the up—in the run-up to the financial crisis.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the key aspect of private equity is it’s not required to have a lot of the same transparency that a publicly traded company would have in terms of its regular reports and its trading and who’s investing what in it?</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: That’s absolutely true. So, a public company would have to make more regular reports to the SEC. They also don’t face a lot of the same regulations as banks, as well. It’s just a newer concept, in some ways. And then, in the case of fire and ambulance, private equity companies are regulated, but as ambulance companies. So, something that we found very early on as we were looking at this is that ambulance companies, there just really isn’t—there isn’t a national database of ambulance response times, so it’s very, very difficult to compare ambulances from town to town, from company to company, even within one company from contract to contract. The contracts are all different, and they all ask for different things. So the oversight can be very patchy.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, who ultimately is responsible?</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: That is a very interesting question. So, on the topic of ambulances, usually it’s a local health department or the local government, whoever has the contract with the company. But like I said, they can be very, very different. So, for example, we looked at Aurora, Colorado. Aurora recently ended its contract with Rural/Metro, but when they were under contract, they asked for basically everything. They asked for ambulance response times. They were very strict about penalizing if there were any late response times. But very close by, there was another town called Edgewater, which also no longer has a contract with Rural/Metro. It has a contract with a neighboring town that uses Rural/Metro. And Edgewater’s contract had this very interesting thing where it said, I believe, that the ambulance company was required to arrive within five minutes, but then there were no actual reporting requirements, so the ambulance company didn’t have to actually tell them any of its response times. So there was no way that the town could even know if the ambulance companies were arriving within five minutes. With fire, it’s a very, very different thing. In the fire—with fire departments, there’s actually no contract. So, what you’re looking at is an area where the local fire department, the municipal fire department, simply just doesn’t serve that area, and Rural/Metro comes in to fill that gap. And what that means is that there just—there really isn’t an oversight entity at all.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, we’re not just talking about economics here, we’re talking about lives. You begin your piece, "A Tennessee woman slipped into a coma and died after an ambulance company took so long to assemble a crew that one worker had time for a cigarette break. Paramedics in New York had to covertly swipe medical supplies from a hospital to restock their depleted ambulances after emergency runs. [And a] man in the suburban South watched a chimney fire burn his house to the ground as he waited for the fire department, which billed him anyway [and] then sued him for $15,000 when he [did not] pay."</p><p>DANIELLE IVORY: Right. I mean, we’re talking about companies that are really interacting with people at the most vulnerable moments of their life. So, even though this is actually a relatively small portion of the ambulance market, we thought it was important to look at, because these really are life-and-death services. In the case of TransCare, which, again, is like right here in New York—or used to be right here in New York—I had paramedics and EMTs going on the record saying that they felt pressure to go into emergency rooms and basically steal supplies, because they were worried that their ambulances were not going to be stocked with critical medications. Really kind of incredible, mind-blowing stuff.</p> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 10:56:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061287 at http://personal.alternet.org Economy Culture Economy Video wall street private equity Dave Zirin: Protests by Athletes and Displaced Rio Residents Accompany Opening of 2016 Olympic Games (Video) http://personal.alternet.org/activism/dave-zirin-protests-athletes-and-displaced-rio-residents-accompany-opening-2016-olympic <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">More than 60 percent of Brazilians think hosting the Games will hurt their country.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/rio_protest.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine, says protests highlighting racial and economic injustice are expected from athletes attending the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, such as tennis champion Serena Williams and players from the NBA, WNBA and other countries.</p><p>Polls show more than 60 percent of Brazilians think hosting the Games will hurt their country. He says that ahead of today’s opening ceremony, residents of heavily policed and displaced neighborhoods plan a major march to Rio’s "Olympic City."</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/5/dave_zirin_protests_by_athletes_and" width="630"></iframe></p> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 09:09:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061398 at http://personal.alternet.org Activism Activism Video World rio olympics Brazil's Dance with the Devil: 2016 Rio Olympics Begin with Government Dysfunction & Police Violence http://personal.alternet.org/culture/brazils-dance-devil-2016-rio-olympics-begin-government-dysfunction-police-violence <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">More than 10,000 athletes across the world have convened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Summer Olympics. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/rio_aj.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Rio is the first South American city ever to host the Games, which come as Brazil is battling an economic recession, a massive Zika outbreak and the recent ouster of its democratically elected president, Dilma Rousseff. Human rights organizations have also expressed concern about the impact of the Games on Rio’s most vulnerable communities. Residents of Rio’s favelas have spoken of battles against forced evictions, police violence and wasted spending. About 85,000 police, soldiers and other security officials will patrol the city during the Games. We get the latest from Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine and author of "Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy."</p><p> </p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/5/brazils_dance_with_the_devil_2016" width="630"></iframe></p> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 09:03:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061395 at http://personal.alternet.org Culture Culture Video rio olympics 30 Years of "Doonesbury" on Donald Trump: Cartoonist Garry Trudeau on the GOP's "Natural Born Toon" http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/30-years-doonesbury-donald-trump-cartoonist-garry-trudeau-gops-natural-born-toon <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Cartoonist Garry Trudeau has been writing about Trump and a possible run for the presidency for nearly 30 years.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/yuge_book.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Garry Trudeau has prompting Trump to call him "a third-rate talent," "a sleazeball," "a jerk" and "a total loser" for decades. Trudeau is the creator of the popular comic strip "Doonesbury" and the first cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize. In September 1987, Trudeau published a series of comic strips that now seem prophetic. In one strip, reporters ask Trump a series of questions about his political ambitions to run for Congress, and Trump responds, "President, think president." Trump has remained a frequent character in "Doonesbury" ever since, giving Trudeau a chance to make fun of everything from Trump’s hair to his ego to his rampant use of insults. His cartoons have just been collected in a new book titled "Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump."</p><p><span style="font-style: italic;">This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</span></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/5/30_years_of_doonesbury_on_donald" width="630"></iframe></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to a man who’s been described by Donald Trump as "overrated," "a sleazeball," "a jerk" and "a total loser." He’s a man who’s been writing about Donald Trump and a possible run for the presidency for nearly 30 years. We’re talking about the cartoonist Garry Trudeau, creator of the popular comic strip Doonesbury. He’s the first cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize. In September 1987, Trudeau published a series of comic strips that now seem prophetic. In one strip, reporters are asking Trump a series of questions: "Mr. Trump, your denials notwithstanding, don’t the ads you took out suggest a testing of the political waters?" Trump responds, "As I have said before, I was simply acting as a concerned citizen! At this time, I have no, repeat no, political ambitions whatsoever!" A reporter then asks, "Okay, but if you did run for Congress..." Trump then responds, "President, think president." Another strip from 1987 features Trump being asked, "Mr. Trump, as a developer of luxury condos and casinos, do you think you’d have any rapport at all with voters of modest means?" Trump responds, "Are you kidding? I’ve spent my whole life working with people of modest means!" "In what capacity?" he’s asked. Trump says, quote, "Evicting them! I’ve seen how these people live!" Trump has remained a frequent character in Doonesbury ever since, giving Trudeau a chance to make fun of everything from Trump’s hair to his ego to his rampant use of insults. These cartoons have just been collected in a new book; it’s titled Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump. Garry Trudeau joins us in studio now. Welcome to Democracy Now!</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Well, thank you. It’s such a pleasure.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. So, are you surprised at everything that has unfolded in this past year?</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Yes. I’m no smarter than anyone else in terms of understanding where this was all going to go. My assumption, after 2012, when he was attacking the president and he got his first taste of double-digit poll numbers, that he would make a run this time around. But I thought it would be just as part of the—his normal brand enhancement and that once he’d gotten the maximum promotional value out of a run, that he would step out. Who knew he would catch on like this? Certainly not me.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about when you first started covering him in Doonesbury. And for people who don’t know Doonesbury, why don’t you start off by explaining this comic strip.</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Wow!</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I don’t know if there’s anyone who doesn’t know, but go ahead.</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: It’s a comic strip that began life, when I was in college, as a one-off. It was a sports strip that was about a particularly outstanding football player on my college campus. And it caught the eye of a syndicate chief, who wrote me in my junior year and said, "How would you like to do this for a living?" So, that’s the—I didn’t have a particularly long period of paying dues. I jumped in right after graduation, and I’ve been writing this daily comic strip, which was about collegiate life, but which became about the broader world and all the many issues I’m interested in.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: How often did your comic strip get banned or dumped for a week, if they didn’t like what you were doing?</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Oh, it’s impossible to say how often, but in the early years, it was every other week or so some newspapers would decide to remove it from the pages. And I’ve never regarded it as censorship; it’s simply editing. Editors decide every day about dozens of things that don’t make it into their papers. So, I never took it seriously. The problem was that it would generate local news. Their reporter would call me. And it became a very sort of self-conscious thing for me to write, because I had to be prepared to defend it, after it was published, to multiple clients. So, I just sort of stepped back from that. And I wasn’t on shows like yours for many, many years, just so I could focus on the work. But now it’s all hands on deck, right? I’m delighted to be here to talk about the work.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: OK, so you’re—you’ve been following Donald Trump for decades.</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Right.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Tell us when he first became a character in Doonesbury. </p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: He became a character in response, a kind of prophylactic response, to his series of ads that he took out in The Boston Globe and The Washington Post and The New York Times, in which we learned for the first time that the rest of the world was laughing at us. And there were a few trial balloons that went up along with that from other—others of his friends, and I thought, "Wow! I have to respond to that, because we’ve been living in this city with this guy for 10 years. His grandiosity is just over the top, and this is laughable." And so I just put him in the strip. And it was an early transfer—easy transfer. He wasn’t a parody exactly; he was really more like a natural born toon. I just took him out of the box, removed the tags and put him right into the strip. And I think he’s—you know, he’s like a version of Daffy Duck, I mean, in terms of his appearance, the silly way in which he talks, the over-the-top self-regard. All these things just made him a perfect cartoon character. And so, I just had him interact with the other characters as a peer, and they interact with him as just a, you know, comic strip colleague. And I didn’t have to make any adjustments. I would take the things he said and reframe them in a way, you know, to maximize the satiric purpose of it, but I didn’t have to do much in terms of exaggerating, the way you normally do in a parody.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to 1999. You have a cartoon with Donald Trump saying, quote, "A lot of people have been asking what this election is really about. Well, it’s not about the economy, stupid! And it’s not character, stupid! And it’s not authenticity, stupid! It’s not even about the issues, stupid! You want to know what this election is about?" Someone then says, "You, stupid?" Trump replies, "Exactly! People are begging me to run! Begging me!"</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Oh, they’re always begging him, and there are always hundreds of calls. And what’s astonishing is these things are obviously made up. But what’s most astonishing about his lack of truth is that he wheels it out for the most banal and trivial of reasons. I was talking to a crew member on CNN who said he was in his office setting up a camera—this was a while back—and he overheard Trump talking to his daughter in the outer office. And he said, "Well, there are five cameras in my office." And he said, "Five? There was one. I was setting up one camera." Why lie to your daughter about how many cameras in your—I mean, the most, you know, insignificant things get lied about, and right up to last night, when he was imagining a video he never saw.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Imagining?</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Fabricating, whatever. I mean—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Talked about a secret video he had seen.</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Oh, secret. I missed that detail.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Although, today, now tweeting out, in maybe one of his first tweet corrections, oh, it wasn’t a [video] of $400 million being brought in to the Iranian government—</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Which he described vividly.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And said the Iranian government did this to embarrass the U.S., released this video.</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Yeah, yeah.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Right? And this morning, tweeted, no, he was watching on TV the video of the hostages being released in Geneva. </p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Yeah.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to 2011. This comic strip begins with Donald Trump saying, "Novelty candidate? What’re you talking about? Have you seen my polls? They’re extraordinary! I’m polling 41% against Obama! 41%! And I’m not even running yet!" This was 2011.</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Yeah, I think that’s what really—you know, that was when, I think, he thought it was possible. He had a brief interest in running for governor, but then that just didn’t seem grand enough, so he started making his early moves towards the presidency last year.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to go to break, and then we’re going to come back with Garry Trudeau. He is the Pulitzer Prize cartoonist, creator of the comic strip Doonesbury, which appears daily in over 1,400 newspapers. In 1975, Garry Trudeau became the first comic strip artist ever to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. He’s been described as the most influential editorial cartoonist in, oh, over a quarter of a century. His new book is called Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump. Stay with us. [break]</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: "It’s the Right Time to Be Rich," from the 1983 Broadway production of Doonesbury. And, yes, our guest today is Garry Trudeau, the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic, the creator of the comic strip Doonesbury, which appears in well over a thousand newspapers. Can you talk about that, the music we just heard and the Broadway musical?</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: The music we just heard was from a Broadway musical called Doonesbury, and that was a song that was sung by the reporter Roland Burton Hedley Jr. in the second act. And I haven’t heard it in years. Obviously, it’s always a good time to be rich, but I’m glad you dug that one out.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, I wanted to go back in your history, Garry. Since you don’t come out and talk to the world very much, except through your comic strip, Doonesbury, your grandfather ran a tuberculosis sanatorium upstate?</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: My great-grandfather. And he opened the first sanatorium in North America for the treatment of tuberculosis. And that has been the tradition in my family for three generations.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: It’s so interesting, because my grandmother went to a tuberculosis sanatorium. When she was like 50, she got TB and meningitis, and she went to one of these places. And I wonder if it was—if it was his. They didn’t know if she’d last the year, and she lived ’til she was 108.</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: It was helpful for some people. I mean, there weren’t any antibiotics in those days, and that’s what eventually shut down the sanatoriums. But what his insight was remains important. It was about a holistic approach to health. And he was very, very committed to creating the conditions by which the body and the immune system can optimize its own recovery processes. So there was fresh air, there was, you know, good hygiene, healthy food, occupational therapy—all these things that were a little ahead of their time and have been important in treating all kinds of disease.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And how did that influence you?</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Well, I grew up kind of in awe of my own heritage, as did my father and his father, because Edward Trudeau, my great-grandfather, was a great man in his day. Tuberculosis was the number one killer. And he was well known around the world. So, yeah, you grew up in a shadow in my little town, a very big shadow. And I never felt any pressure to go into medicine. And once I had left and went to college, and it was offered, an alternative employment that I really loved, I never looked back. AMY GOODMAN: And your family was involved with politics in New York?</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: No. My mother was a volunteer for Eisenhower.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Back further? Yeah?</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Yeah, I grew up in a moderate Republican household, a Rockefeller Republican household. And my best friend, who lived next door, his father was the publisher of the local paper and was a Democrat, and eventually became an ambassador. And we rather regarded politics as one might regard the difference between the Dodgers and the Yankees, being New Yorkers. It was a friendly rivalry; it wasn’t something that drove families apart and tore communities apart.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And so, their feelings about you becoming a comic strip—</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Whose feel—whose—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Your family’s feelings about you?</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: They’re fine with it. I think, you know, my father worried for some years that there wouldn’t be a living in it, and he just waited for me to pivot into a career that seemed more stable to him. I did go to graduate school in graphic design, and I did set up a graphic studio, where I was doing that work in addition to the strip. But eventually I had to pick between the two.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to a quote of yours a few years ago. You said, "Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. ... Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny—it’s just mean. By punching downward, by attacking the powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech." You were talking about Charlie Hebdo—</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Right AMY GOODMAN: —the magazine in Paris.</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Right. AMY GOODMAN: And the—this, after the attack that took place that killed a number of the cartoonists. Explain what you were saying.</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: I did. And that was very controversial at the time, to my great surprise. It didn’t seem like I was saying anything particularly controversial. But feelings were still raw. This was only a few months after the killings. And although I had honored the cartoonists in the strip, by name, and including their drawings in a Sunday section, I nonetheless disagreed with what—you know, what they were trying to do with their art. I just simply wouldn’t have done it. Life is full of editing decisions. You can’t go through a day without making a dozen decisions not to do something. Editors do that with newspapers. We do it in relationships. It’s just something I wouldn’t do, and most cartoonists in this country wouldn’t do. You don’t do it just because you can. We all understand that you can. That’s—we all get the First Amendment. But each person has to decide for themselves when you cross a line.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s go back to Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump. And talk about why the title Yuge!</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Well, hopefully, that’s self-explanatory. The practical reason for it was that there’s only four letters, so you can make them very big on a cover. And that seemed to be not just a metaphor, but also helpful in terms of people spotting it in a bookstore.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I’m going to go to one of the cartoon strips where you have your character on the radio. "He’s in! He’s out! He’s keeping his options open! He may be hard to pin down, but one thing remains the same—a deep, pathological need for attention! As far back as 1987, he’s pretended to run for president, freshening his tacky brand with free media, but always wimping out before the first primary! So here he is, the man with the piggy eyes, contemptuous scowl, and hair like orange cotton candy! Welcome, sir!" "You didn’t say my name, you freakin’ pinhead!" "Sorry, sir, I’m blanking on it. How embarrassing!" "It’s..." "Ooh, we’re out of time! Our thanks to the caller!"</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: It’s almost like I was baiting him, right? Yeah, I mean, it was a pretty obvious cartoon to kind of wander into, just in terms of he was right on the precipice, and I was just as uncertain as anyone else that he would actually go for it. AMY GOODMAN: And now I want to go to the cartoon that you’re going to read. This is April 17th, 2016. You show Trump talking to a group of middle-schoolers, saying, "Hey, kids! Tired of getting killed on insults in the cafeteria? Then start fighting back with my quality Trump brand insults! Choose from over 500 tremendous insults I’ve tweeted out since last June, including..." Could you read what happens next in the cartoon?</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Well, it’s just a sampling, a carefully curated sampling of these copyrighted insults. And I’m loathe to read them, simply because I’m sure they would—it would invite a suit. But let’s get right into it: "Lightweight!" "Embarrassment!" "Choker!" "Disaster!" "Phony!" "Hypocrite!" "Dope!" "Fraud!" "Arrogant!" "Loser!" "Grubby!" "Wacko!" "Third-rate!" "Clown!" "Dumb!" "Clueless!" "Nasty!" "Failed!" "Terrible!" "Ridiculous!" "Deceptive!" "Weak!" "Sad!" "Crazy!" "Totally corrupt!" "Dumb as a rock!" "Reckless!" "Totally flawed!" "Not nice!" "Nervous wreck!" "Zero talent!" "Sloppy!" "A real nut job!" "Blowhard!" "Overrated!" "Truly weird!" "A joke!" "Unattractive!" "Disgusting!" "Irrelevant!" "Spoiled brat!" "Low-class slob!" "Goofball atheist!" "Hater and racist!" "Failing!" "Fool!" "Worthless!" "Garbage!" "Pure scum!" "Crude!" "Biased!" "Kooky!" "Awkward!" "Dishonest!" "Hopeless!" "Dummy!" "Liar!" "Disgrace!" "Basket case!" "Disloyal!" and "Really pathetic!" And then he says, "Stop being a total loser, huge loser—Use Trump brand insults and start winning today!"</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, your thoughts today, 30 years—</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: Well, there are far more. This was just a sampling. But 30 years later? You know, I don’t want to think beyond November. I hope I have no reason to think beyond November. I look forward to passing him on Fifth Avenue on his way to work on November 9th, and without incident and with him getting on with his life and the rest of the country getting on with its.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: How much have you interacted with him? He’s got a lot of names for you. GARRY TRUDEAU: No, I’ve observed him in the wild numerous occasions, most recently at the New Hampshire debates. He came out into the press area, and I could not take my eyes off the back of his head. It is something that photography just can’t quite capture. It’s like a panel of gossamer that has been lacquered onto the back of his head with a kind of golden slurry. And I wanted to find the words or the imagery to share that with my readers, but really drawing Trump is a journey. It’s not a destination. You just have to keep after it.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Has he ever threatened to sue you.</p><p>GARRY TRUDEAU: No. </p> Fri, 05 Aug 2016 08:48:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061394 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Culture Election 2016 Video gary Trudeau doonesbury Chris Hedges vs. Robert Reich on Sanders Backers and Changing the Structure of Power in America http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/chris-hedges-vs-robert-reich-clinton-third-parties-capitalism-next-steps-sanders <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">&quot;I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 50 years—50 years—endorsed Bernie Sanders and worked my heart out for him, as many, many people did,&quot; Robert Reich said. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/s3-reichandhedges.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The Green Party’s national convention opens today in Houston, Texas, and Dr. Jill Stein is expected to win the party’s nomination. But will she win the support of former Bernie Sanders supporters? Last week, Democracy Now! hosted a debate between the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich about the presidential race. Hedges has endorsed Jill Stein. Reich is backing Hillary Clinton after endorsing Bernie Sanders during the primaries. Reich served in Bill Clinton’s Cabinet as labor secretary from 1993 to 1997.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/4/as_green_party_convention_opens_watch" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: A week ago today, Hillary Clinton made history by becoming the first woman to accept a major-party presidential nomination. But Clinton is not the only woman running for president this year. The Green Party’s national convention opens today in Houston, Texas, and Dr. Jill Stein is expected to win the party’s nomination. Last week, Juan González and I hosted a debate between the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich about the presidential race. Hedges has endorsed Dr. Jill Stein. Reich is backing Hillary Clinton, after endorsing Bernie Sanders during the primaries. Reich served in Bill Clinton’s Cabinet as Labor Secretary from ’93 to 1997. He now teaches at University of California, Berkeley. We began the debate by asking Robert Reich about whether the Democratic Party would unite behind Hillary Clinton or whether a group of Sanders supporters would go on to back Dr. Jill Stein.</p><p>ROBERT REICH: Well, it’s very hard to tell what the delegates are going to do. And it’s very hard to tell—even harder to tell what the electorate is going to do. You know, this is a very agonizing time for many Bernie Sanders supporters. I, with a great deal of reluctance initially, because I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 50 years—50 years—endorsed Bernie Sanders and worked my heart out for him, as many, many people did. And so, at this particular juncture, you know, there’s a great deal of sadness and a great deal of feeling of regret. But having worked so long and so many years for basically the progressive ideals that Bernie Sanders stands for, I can tell you that the movement is going to continue. In fact, it’s going to grow. And right now, at this particular point in time, I just don’t see any alternative but to support Hillary. I know Hillary, I know her faults, I know her strengths. I think she will make a great president. I supported Bernie Sanders because I thought he would make a better president for the system we need. But nonetheless, Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee. I support her. And I support her not only because she will be a good president, if not a great president, but also, frankly, because I am tremendously worried about the alternative. And the alternative, really, as a practical matter, is somebody who is a megalomaniac and a bigot, somebody who will set back the progressive movement decades, if not more.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Chris Hedges?</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: Well, reducing the election to personalities is kind of infantile at this point. The fact is, we live in a system that Sheldon Wolin calls inverted totalitarianism. It’s a system where corporate power has seized all of the levers of control. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil or Raytheon. We’ve lost our privacy. We’ve seen, under Obama, an assault against civil liberties that has outstripped what George W. Bush carried out. We’ve seen the executive branch misinterpret the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving itself the right to assassinate American citizens, including children. I speak of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son. We have bailed out the banks, pushed through programs of austerity. This has been a bipartisan effort, because they’ve both been captured by corporate power. We have undergone what John Ralston Saul correctly calls a corporate coup d’état in slow motion, and it’s over. I just came back from Poland, which is a kind of case study of how neoliberal poison destroys a society and creates figures like Trump. Poland has gone, I think we can argue, into a neofascism. First, it dislocated the working class, deindustrialized the country. Then, in the name of austerity, it destroyed public institutions, education, public broadcasting. And then it poisoned the political system. And we are now watching, in Poland, them create a 30,000 to 40,000 armed militia. You know, they have an army. The Parliament, nothing works. And I think that this political system in the United States has seized up in exactly the same form. So, is Trump a repugnant personality? Yes. Although I would argue that in terms of megalomania and narcissism, Hillary Clinton is not far behind. But the point is, we’ve got to break away from—which is exactly the narrative they want us to focus on. We’ve got to break away from political personalities and understand and examine and critique the structures of power. And, in fact, the Democratic Party, especially beginning under Bill Clinton, has carried water for corporate entities as assiduously as the Republican Party. This is something that Ralph Nader understood long before the rest of us, and stepped out very courageously in 2000. And I think we will look back on that period and find Ralph to be an amazingly prophetic figure. Nobody understands corporate power better than Ralph. And I think now people have caught up with Ralph. And this is, of course, why I support Dr. Stein and the Green Party. We have to remember that 10 years ago, Syriza, which controls the Greek government, was polling at exactly the same spot that the Green Party is polling now—about 4 percent. We’ve got to break out of this idea that we can create systematic change within a particular election cycle. We’ve got to be willing to step out into the political wilderness, perhaps, for a decade. But on the issues of climate change, on the issue of the destruction of civil liberties, including our right to privacy—and I speak as a former investigative journalist, which doesn’t exist anymore because of wholesale government surveillance—we have no ability, except for hackers. I mean, this whole debate over the WikiLeaks is insane. Did Russia? I’ve printed classified material that was given to me by the Mossad. But I never exposed that Mossad gave it to me. Is what was published true or untrue? And the fact is, you know, in those long emails—you should read them. They’re appalling, including calling Dr. Cornel West "trash." It is—the whole—it exposes the way the system was rigged, within—I’m talking about the Democratic Party—the denial of independents, the superdelegates, the stealing of the caucus in Nevada, the huge amounts of corporate money and super PACs that flowed into the Clinton campaign. The fact is, Clinton has a track record, and it’s one that has abandoned children. I mean, she and her husband destroyed welfare as we know it, and 70 percent of the original recipients were children. This debate over—I don’t like Trump, but Trump is not the phenomenon. Trump is responding to a phenomenon created by neoliberalism. And we may get rid of Trump, but we will get something even more vile, maybe Ted Cruz.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Robert Reich, I remember you, on Democracy Now!, talking about your time as labor secretary when President Clinton signed off on welfare reform, and you described walking the streets of Washington, D.C., wondering where the protests were, that you had vigorously objected. And it was also an issue, a bill that Hillary Clinton had supported. So, can you respond to Chris Hedges on these three points, including, so, you take a walk in the political wilderness for a little while?</p><p>ROBERT REICH: Well, Amy, it’s not just taking a walk in the political wilderness. If Donald Trump becomes president, if that’s what you’re referring to, I think it is—there are irrevocable negative changes that will happen in the United States, including appointments to the Supreme Court, that will not be just political wilderness, that will actually change and worsen the structure of this country. I couldn’t agree with Chris Hedges more about his critique, overall, of neoliberalism and a lot of the structural problems that we face in our political economy today. I’ve written about them. But I’ve done more than write about them. I’ve actually been in the center of power, and I have been doing everything I possibly can, as an individual and also as a mobilizer and organizer of others, to try to change what we now have. I think that voting for Donald Trump or equating Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump is insane. Donald Trump is certainly a product of a kind of system and a systematic undermining that has occurred in the United States for years with regard to inequality of income and wealth and political power. But we don’t fight that by simply saying, "All right, let’s just have Donald Trump and hope that the system improves itself and hope that things are so bad that actually people rise up in armed resistance." That’s insane. That’s crazy. What we have to do is be—we’ve got to be very, very strategic as progressives. We’ve got to look at the long term. We’ve got to understand that Bernie Sanders brought us much further along than we were before the Sanders campaign. We owe a lot to Bernie Sanders, his courage, his integrity, his power, the fact that most people under 30 voted for Bernie Sanders. In fact, if you look at the people who voted for Bernie Sanders under 30, that was more people than voted for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton together under the age of 30. We are building a progressive movement in this country. But over the next four years, I don’t want Donald Trump to irretrievably make it difficult, if not impossible, for us to move forward with that progressive movement. Now, I understand Hillary Clinton is not perfect. I’ve known her, as I said before, for 50 years. I met her when she was 19 years old. I know her strengths, and I know, pretty well, her weaknesses. She is not perfect. And as Chris says, you know, she is also very much a product of many of the problems structurally in this country right now. We fight those structural problems, yes. Hand in hand, Chris, with you, shoulder to shoulder—I’m very short, maybe it’s my shoulder, and it’s your rib cage—but it doesn’t matter, we continue to fight. I will continue to fight. Many people who are watching and listening will continue to fight. We must continue to mobilize. I hope Bernie Sanders does what he implied he would do last night—that is, carry the movement forward, lend his name, his energy, his email list. This is not the end of anything. But we have got to be, at the same time, very practical about what we’re doing and very strategic about what we’re doing. This is not just a matter of making statements. It’s a matter of actually working with and through, and changing the structure of power in this country.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Chris, I’d like to ask you—you’ve written that liberals are tolerated by the capitalist elites because they do not question the virtues of corporate capitalism, only its excesses, and call for tepid and ineffectual reforms. Could that have also have been said of FDR in the 1930s? Because you were one of the folks who did not back Bernie Sanders from the beginning.</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: That’s right.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, you’ve—</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: Well, I didn’t back Bernie Sanders because—and Kshama Sawant and I had had a discussion with him before—because he said that he would work within the Democratic structures and support the nominee. And I think we have now watched Bernie Sanders walk away from his political moment. You know, he—I think he will come to deeply regret what he has done. He has betrayed these people who believed in this political revolution. We heard this same kind of rhetoric, by the way, in 2008 around Obama. A political campaign raises consciousness, but it’s not a movement. And what we are seeing now is furious spin—I listened to Ben Jealous just do it—from the self-identified liberal class. And they are tolerated within a capitalist system, because, in a moment like this, they are used to speak to people to get them to betray their own interests in the name of fear. And I admire Robert and have read much of his stuff and like his stuff, but if you listen to what he’s been saying, the message is the same message of the Trump campaign, and that his fear. And that is all the Democrats have to offer now and all the Republicans have to offer now. And the fact is, from climate change alone, we have no time left. I have four children. The future of my children, by the day, is being destroyed because of the fact that the fossil fuel industry, along with the animal agriculture industry, which is also as important in terms of climate change, are destroying the ecosystem on which we depend for life. And neither party has any intention to do anything about it.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: What should Bernie Sanders have done?</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: Bernie Sanders should have walked out and run as an independent.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Take—</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: And defied the Democratic Party.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Take up the invitation of Dr. Jill Stein—</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: Yes.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: —and run on a ticket with—</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: She offered to let him run on the top of the ticket. That’s what he should have done. And the fact is, you know, let’s not forget that Bernie has a very checkered past. He campaigned for Clinton in '92. He campaigned for Clinton again in ’96, after NAFTA—the greatest betrayal of the working class in this country since the Taft-Hartley Act of 1948—after the destruction of welfare, after the omnibus crime bill that exploded the prison population, and, you know, we now have—I mean, it's just a monstrosity what we’ve done; 350,000 to 400,000 people locked in cages in this country are severely mentally ill. Half of them never committed a violent crime. That’s all Bill Clinton. And yet he went out and campaigned. In 2004, he called on Nader not to run, to step down, so he could support a war candidate like John Kerry. And I’m listening to Jealous before talk about the Iraq War. Sixty percent of the Democratic senators voted for the war, including Hillary Clinton. The idea that somehow Democrats don’t push us into war defies American history.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Robert Reich?</p><p>ROBERT REICH: Well, all I can say is that at this particular point in time—I mean, again, many of the things that Chris Hedges is saying, I completely agree with. The real question here is: What do we do right now? And what do we do to mobilize and organize a lot of people out there who right now are not mobilized and organized? And how do we keep the energy building? I disagree with Chris with regard to Bernie Sanders. I think Bernie Sanders has been a great and is a great leader right now of the progressive cause. What I think we ought to do is develop a third party outside the Democratic and Republican parties, maybe the Green Party, so that in the year 2020, four years from now, we have another candidate—it may be Bernie Sanders, I think he’s probably going to be too old by then—but we have a candidate that holds the Democrats accountable, that provides a vehicle for a lot of the energy of the Bernie Sanders movement to continue to develop, that fields new candidates at the Senate, in Congress, at the state level, that actually holds Democrats’ feet to the fire and Republicans’ feet to the fire, that develops an agenda of getting big money out of politics and severing the link between extraordinarily concentrated wealth and political power in this country. That’s what we ought to be doing. Now, we can—but in order to do that, we cannot have—and, you know, I think that Hillary will be a good president, if not a great president. This is not just trucking in fear, Chris. But I do fear Donald Trump. I fear the polls that I saw yesterday. Now, polls, again, this early in a campaign still—we’re still months away from the election, but they are indicative. They show Donald Trump doing exceedingly well, beating Hillary Clinton. And right now, given our two-party system, given our winner-take-all system with regard to the Electoral College, it’s just too much of a risk to go and to say, "Well, I’m going to vote—I’m not going to vote for the lesser of two evils, I’m going to vote exactly what I want to do." Well, anybody can do that, obviously. This is a free country. You vote what you—you vote your conscience. You have to do that. I’m just saying that your conscience needs to be aware that if you do not support Hillary Clinton, you are increasing the odds of a true, clear and present danger to the United States, a menace to the United States. And you’re increasing the possibility that there will not be a progressive movement, there will not be anything we believe in in the future, because the United States will really be changed for the worse. That’s not a—that’s not a risk I’m prepared to take at this point in time. I’m going to move—I’m going to do exactly what I’ve been doing for the last 40 years: I’m going to continue to beat my head against the wall, to build and contribute to building a progressive movement. The day after Election Day, I am going to try to work with Bernie Sanders and anybody else who wants to work in strengthening a third party—and again, maybe it’s the Green Party—for the year 2020, and do everything else I was just talking about. But right now, as we lead up to Election Day 2016, I must urge everyone who is listening or who is watching to do whatever they can to make sure that Hillary Clinton is the next president, and not Donald Trump.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. Hold onto your hats, because we’ll return to the debate in a minute. [break]</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: "Rich" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we return to our debate between former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. Juan González and I spoke to them last week during the Democratic National Convention. Chris Hedges was with us in Philadelphia. Robert Reich joined us from the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches. We started this section of the debate with a clip from Donald Trump’s nomination speech at the Republican National Convention.</p><p>DONALD TRUMP: I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders. He never had a chance, never had a chance. But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his biggest single issue—trade deals that strip our country of its jobs and strip us of our wealth as a country. Millions of Democrats will join our movement, because we are going to fix the system so it works fairly and justly for each and every American.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Donald Trump talking at the convention in Cleveland. Robert Reich, interestingly, Donald Trump and Chris Hedges agree on one thing, that free trade deals that the—that both the Republicans and Democrats have negotiated over the past few years, especially NAFTA, have been disastrous for the American people. You were part of the Clinton administration when NAFTA was passed. Talk about this, the impact that Trump is utilizing among white workers in America over the issue of free trade.</p><p>ROBERT REICH: Well, Donald Trump is clearly using trade and also immigration as vehicles for making the people who have really been hurt by trade, by globalization, feel that he is going to somehow be on their side. He’s not going to be on their side. Trump is right in a very, very narrow respect, that trade has hurt very vulnerable people, working-class people. The burdens of trade have been disproportionately fallen on those people who used to have good unionized jobs in America. And the failure of NAFTA and also the WTO, the World Trade Organization, Chinese ascension into the WTO, all of those Clinton-era programs—the failure was, number one, not to have nearly strong enough and enforceable enough labor and environmental side agreements; number two, not to have adjustment mechanisms here in the United States for people who lost their jobs to help them get good jobs, that were new jobs, for the jobs they lost. The winners in trade could have compensated the losers and still come out ahead, but they did not. And that is a structural, political problem in this country that we have to address. It is also a problem with regard to technological displacement. It’s not just trade. Technology is displacing and will continue to displace and will displace even more good jobs in the future, but we have absolutely no strategy for dealing with that. And right now, the burdens of technological displacement are falling, once again, on the working middle class, lower-income people, who have very, very few alternatives, driving a greater and greater wedge between those who are lucky enough to be—to have rich parents or be well educated or be well connected, and everybody else. We cannot go on like this. This is unsustainable. And Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are symptomatic, their rise, are both symptomatic of this great wave of antiestablishment anger that is flooding American politics, although on the one side you have authoritarian populism, and on the Bernie Sanders side you have a political revolution. I prefer the political revolution myself. I’m going to continue to work for that political revolution.</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: Well, I think we have to acknowledge two facts. We do not live in a functioning democracy, and we have to stop pretending that we do. You can’t talk about—when you eviscerate privacy, you can’t use the word "liberty." That is the relationship between a master and a slave. The fact is, this is capitalism run amok. This whole discussion should be about capitalism. Capitalism does what it’s designed to do, when it’s unfettered or unregulated—as it is—and that is to increase profit and reduce the cost of labor. And it has done that by deindustrializing the country, and the Clinton administration, you know, massively enabled this. And, you know, we’re sitting here in Philadelphia. The last convention was in Cleveland. These are Potemkin villages, where the downtowns are Disneyfied, and three and four blocks away people are living in appalling poverty. We have responded to surplus labor, as Karl Marx says, in our deindustrialized internal colonies, to quote Malcolm X, by putting poor people of color in cages all across the country. Why? It’s because surplus labor—corporate entities cannot make money off of surplus or redundant labor. But when you lock them in a cage, they make $40,000 or $50,000 a year. This is the system we live in. We live in a system where, under Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, the executive branch can put the soldiers in the streets, in clear violation of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, to see—carry out extraordinary rendition of American citizens who are deemed to be, quote-unquote, "terrorists," strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities, including in our black sites. We are a country that engages in torture. We talk—Robert talks about, you know, building movements. You can’t build movements in a political system where money has replaced the vote. It’s impossible. And the Democrats, you know, their bedside manner is different from the Republicans. You know, Trump is this kind of grotesque figure. He’s like the used car salesman who rolls back the speedometer. But Hillary Clinton is like, you know, the managers of Goldman Sachs. They both engage in criminal activities that have—and Clinton’s record, like Trump, exposes this—that have preyed upon the most vulnerable within this country and are now destroying the middle class. And to somehow speak as if we are in a functioning democracy, or speak as if there are any restraints on capitalism, or speak as if the Democratic Party has not pushed forward this agenda—I mean, Obama has done this. You know, he has been as obsequious to Wall Street as the Bush administration. There’s no difference.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Robert Reich? ROBERT REICH: Chris, you know, I—again, I find this a frustrating conversation, because I agree with so much of what you have said, but the question is: What do we do about it? I mean, we are in a better position today, in the sense that Bernie Sanders has helped mobilize, organize and energize a lot of Americans, and educated a lot of Americans about the very issues that you have talked and written about and I have talked and written about. But it is—the question is: What is the action? What is the actual political strategy right now? CHRIS HEDGES: Well, let me—let me answer that.</p><p>ROBERT REICH: And I think the political—</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: Let me answer that.</p><p>ROBERT REICH: Well, let me just—let me just put in my two cents. I think political strategy is not to elect Donald Trump, to elect Hillary Clinton, and, for four years, to develop an alternative, another Bernie Sanders-type candidate with an independent party, outside the Democratic Party, that will take on Hillary Clinton, assuming that she is elected and that she runs for re-election, and that also develops the infrastructure of a third party that is a true, new progressive party.</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: Well, that’s precisely what we’re trying to do. There is a point where you have to—do I want to keep quoting Ralph?—but where you have to draw a line in the sand. And that’s part of the problem with the left, is we haven’t. I covered the war in Yugoslavia, and I find many parallels between what’s happening in the United States and what happened with the breakdown of Yugoslavia. What is it that caused this country to disintegrate? It wasn’t ancient ethnic hatreds. It was the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia and a bankrupt liberal establishment that, after the death of Tito, until 1989 or 1990, spoke in the language of democracy, but proved ineffectual in terms of dealing with the plight of working men and women who were cast out of state factories, huge unemployment and, finally, hyperinflation. And the fact is that these neoliberal policies, which the Democratic Party is one of the engines for, have created this right-wing fascialism. You can go back—this proto-fascism. You can go back and look at the Weimar, and it—Republic—was very much the same. So it’s completely counterintuitive. Of course I find Trump a vile and disturbing and disgusting figure, but I don’t believe that voting for the Democratic establishment—and remember that this—the two insurgencies, both within the Republican Party and the—were against figures like Hillary Clinton, who spoke in that traditional feel-your-pain language of liberalism, while assiduously serving corporate power and selling out working men and women. And they see through the con, they see through the game. I don’t actually think Bernie Sanders educated the public. In fact, Bernie Sanders spoke for the first time as a political candidate about the reality the public was experiencing, because even Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, was talking about economic recovery, and everything was wonderful, and people know that it’s not. And when you dispossess—</p><p>ROBERT REICH: Well, let me—let me—</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: Let me just finish. Let me finish. When you dispossess that segment, as large as we have—half the country now lives in virtual poverty—and you continue to essentially run a government that’s been seized by a cabal, in this case, corporate, which uses all of the machinery of government for their own enrichment and their own further empowerment at the expense of the rest of the citizenry, people finally react. And that is how you get fascism. That is what history has told us. And to sit by—every time, Robert, you speak, you do exactly what Trump does, which is fear, fear, fear, fear, fear. And the fact that we are going to build some kind of—</p><p>ROBERT REICH: Well, let me—let me try to—</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: —amorphous movement after Hillary Clinton—it’s just not they way it works. ROBERT REICH: Let me try to inject—let me—let me try to inject—</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich?</p><p>ROBERT REICH: Let me try to inject some hope in here, in this discussion, rather than fear. I’ve been traveling around the country for the last two years, trying to talk to tea partiers and conservatives and many people who are probably going to vote for Donald Trump, to try to understand what it is that they are doing and how they view America and why they’re acting in ways that are so obviously against their self-interest, both economic self-interest and other self-interest. And here’s the interesting thing I found. This great antiestablishment wave that is occurring both on the left and the right has a great overlap, if you will, and that overlap is a deep contempt for what many people on the right are calling crony capitalism—in fact, many people on the left have called crony capitalism. And those people on the right, many, many working people, they’re not all white. Many of them are. Many of them are working-class. Many of them have suffered from trade and technological displacement and a government that is really turning its back on them, they feel—and to some extent, they’re right. Many of them feel as angry about the current system and about corporate welfare and about big money in politics as many of us on the progressive side do. Now, if it is possible to have a multiracial, multiethnic coalition of the bottom 90 percent that is ready to fight to get big money out of politics, for more equality, for a system that is not rigged against average working people, where there are not going to be all of these redistributions upward from those of us who have paychecks—and we don’t even realize that larger and larger portions of those paychecks are going to big industries, conglomerates, concentrated industries that have great market power, because it’s all hidden from view—well, the more coalition building we can do, from right to left, multiethnic, multiracial, left and right, to build a movement to take back our economy and to take back our democracy, that is—</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Robert Reich—Robert Reich, I’d just like to interrupt you for a second, because we only have a minute left, and I just wanted to ask Chris one last question. In less than a minute, if you can, regardless of—you’re voting for Jill Stein, other folks are going to vote for Clinton and Trump. Where do you feel this massive movement that has developed over the last few years, this people movement, would have a better opportunity to grow, under a Trump presidency or under a Clinton presidency, assuming that one of those two will eventually be elected?</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: I don’t think it makes any difference. The TPP is going to go through, whether it’s Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Endless war is going to be continued, whether it’s Trump or Clinton. We’re not going to get our privacy back, whether it’s under Clinton or Trump. The idea that, at this point, the figure in the executive branch exercises that much power, given the power of the war industry and Wall Street, is a myth. The fact is—</p><p>ROBERT REICH: Equating—I’m sorry. I’m sorry.</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Even on immigration?</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: What? On?</p><p>JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Even on immigration?</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: What? On immigration? I mean, let’s look at Obama’s record on immigration. Who’s worse?</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: We’ve got 10 seconds.</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: I mean, you know, you can’t get worse than Obama.</p><p>ROBERT REICH: And can I just say something? CHRIS HEDGES: I mean, the idea is, the Democrats speak, and the— AMY GOODMAN: Robert Reich, 10 seconds. CHRIS HEDGES: Yeah. </p><p>ROBERT REICH: I just want to say, equating Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is absolute nonsense. I just—anybody who equates the two of them is not paying attention. And it’s dangerous kind of talk.</p><p>CHRIS HEDGES: That’s not what I—that’s not what I did.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there, but this is a discussion that will continue.</p> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 08:14:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061332 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Video robert reich hillary clinton bernie sanders First Evidence Surfaces of Foreign Money Pouring into U.S. Elections After Citizens United http://personal.alternet.org/election-2016/first-evidence-surfaces-foreign-money-pouring-us-elections-after-citizens-united <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Six years ago, President Obama warned the nation that foreign corporations could soon pour money into the U.S. election system thanks to the Supreme Court Citizens United decision. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/citizens_united_2.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Direct evidence has emerged for the first time showing a foreign company has indeed donated money to a federal campaign. Documentation obtained by The Intercept shows a company owned by Chinese nationals donated $1.3 million to Jeb Bush’s super PAC after receiving advice from a prominent Republican lawyer. To talk more about the exposé, we are joined by The Intercept’s Lee Fong, who co-wrote the multi-part series "Foreign Influence."</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/4/first_evidence_surfaces_of_foreign_money" width="630"></iframe></p><p><em>This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.</em></p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Six years ago, President Obama warned the nation that foreign corporations could soon pour money into the U.S. election system, thanks to the Supreme Court Citizens United decision. Obama made the warning during his 2010 State of the Union speech as members of the Supreme Court looked on.</p><p>PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections. I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I’d urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems. AMY GOODMAN: That was President Obama speaking in 2010. Now, for the first time, direct evidence has emerged showing a foreign company has indeed donated money to a federal campaign. Documentation obtained by The Intercept shows a company owned by Chinese nationals donated $1.3 million to Jeb Bush’s super PAC after receiving advice from a prominent Republican lawyer. On Wednesday, The Intercept published a multi-part series looking at the actions of two Chinese citizens living in Singapore who own a U.S.-based firm called American Pacific International Capital, that has ties to the Bush family. Jeb’s brother, Neil, serves on the corporation’s board. The Intercept reports suggest there might be more such instances of foreign contributions, as the 2016 election has witnessed a surge of contributions to super PACs by so-called ghost corporations, whose ownership remains unknown. To talk more about the exposé, we’re joined by The Intercept’s Lee Fang, who co-wrote the series, "Foreign Influence." Welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you in studio live for the first time.</p><p>LEE FANG: Thank you for having me, Amy.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So, Lee, why don’t you start off by talking about how Citizens United opened up the floodgates for money—now, in fact, foreign money—and where super PACs fit into this? LEE FANG: In 2010, the Supreme Court decision Citizens United rolled back about a hundred years of campaign finance law, basically doing two things: one, allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts in this election; and, two, separating the way we look at campaign finance. No longer can we trace all donations back to individuals; instead, fictions of the state, corporations and other legal entities, could contribute unlimited amounts.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: So talk about this many-month investigation that you have done and, again, how super PACs fit into this and open up the floodgates.</p><p>LEE FANG: We worked on this for several months. I wrote this with my colleague, Jon Schwarz, and a freelancer, Elaine Yu, along with a fantastic team at The Intercept of researchers and editors. We simply looked at some of the largest corporate donations to presidential super PACs and tried to find out their ownership structure. By chance, we found that one of the largest corporate donors to the Jeb Bush super PAC, Right to Rise, was owned—or, is owned by two Chinese nationals. They’re permanent residents of Singapore. And they gave $1.3 million to the Jeb Bush super PAC. They were advised by one of the most prominent Republican campaign lawyers in the country, Charlie Spies. Charlie Spies has a very long history in big money politics. He was an adviser to George W. Bush’s campaign, to the Republican Governors Association. He helped set up the massive Mitt Romney super PAC. And he set up the Jeb Bush super PAC. He, in fact, wrote a memo that is essentially a roadmap for how foreign-controlled domestic corporations may give in U.S. federal elections, basically setting all the parameters and rules inviting these types of donations. So this wasn’t an anomaly. And he wrote this memo, that we obtained and published with the story, in February of 2015. And the donation from the American Pacific International Capital Company—this is the company controlled by two Chinese foreign nationals—provided their $1.3 million donation to the Jeb Bush super PAC one month later.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: And explain who this couple is. LEE FANG: Gordon Tang and Serena Chen, they’re Chinese nationals. They amassed their wealth living in southern China, in Shantou. They had an import-export business with various goods that they sent abroad. They now have a very large diversified company that has a biofuel refinery, various investment properties, luxury towers, malls, other commercial property in southern China, Malaysia, Singapore. And over the last seven years, they’ve been amassing a large portfolio in the U.S., as well. AMY GOODMAN: And Jeb Bush’s brother, George W. Bush’s brother, Neil Bush, sits on the board of APIC?</p><p>LEE FANG: That’s right. Neil Bush was appointed to both APIC’s board and a sister company also controlled by Gordon Tang called the SingHaiyi Group. We don’t know the compensation from APIC, but through the Singapore Stock Exchange, we know that Neil Bush has been paid at least $700,000 for serving on the SingHaiyi board. And he’s been a prominent kind of figurehead for the company, appearing on company documents, giving speeches and appearing in the Singapore media on behalf of the company. AMY GOODMAN: And how does Gordon Tang also connect with the former governor of Washington, Gary Locke?</p><p>LEE FANG: Yeah, this is an interesting angle to the story. In addition to providing the first documented case of a foreign-controlled corporation giving to an American super PAC, a presidential election vehicle, this is also a story about incredible influence peddling. Gordon Tang and his company worked meticulously to gain U.S. political friends, as his brother-in-law called it, bringing U.S. politicians to his ribbon cuttings, and also soliciting the help from Gary Locke, the former governor of Washington, former secretary of commerce for Obama and the former U.S. ambassador for Obama to China. Locke worked briefly for APIC in 2008, went into government serving the Obama administration, and while serving as ambassador to China, was looking to sell his house, and sold his home in Bethesda to the—to Tang’s family for $1.6 million. It was a very unusual transaction for a sitting ambassador to sell their home to a foreign national of the country they were serving in.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: I want to get to an exchange between Gordon Tang and reporter Elaine Yu, who is working with you at The Intercept. When she asked him about rumors about his past, he offered her a bribe. This is an excerpt from an audio recording of their exchange.</p><p>GORDON TANG: [translated] I’ll come to Hong Kong later and give you a red packet of $200,000, so we can be friends. I shall arrive at Hong Kong on July 20th, for five days, and leave on the 25th. I hope to see you, and then we can be friends. I don’t even know why you want to be a reporter. Reporters make so little money.</p><p>ELAINE YU: [translated] OK, we’re really more interested in the Sino-U.S. relationship. What about SingHaiyi, Neil Bush? What do you think are his good qualities? I want to understand the attitude of how Americans do business.</p><p>GORDON TANG: [translated] Once we’re friends, I’ll have a lot to tell you. And we shall be friends if you don’t write about the last three points [i.e., the rumors about his past].</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: That’s Gordon Tang speaking to Intercept reporter Elaine Yu. And he called her from the airport in Hong Kong to say he had an envelope for her, a red envelope. LEE FANG: That’s right. He had a lai see, which is a traditional Chinese envelope for giving gifts. But he offered what is essentially a bribe not to report certain aspects of the story, offering $200,000 in unspecified currency.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: What was he so concerned about? LEE FANG: He was concerned about allegations about a company he controlled that was investigated for smuggling and tax evasion in Shantou. AMY GOODMAN: And was he implicated? LEE FANG: Members of his family and his business were implicated.</p><p>AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to do Part 2 of this conversation. It’s a lengthy exposé, and we want to really dig into it. And you can watch it at democracynow.org. Lee Fang, investigative journalist at The Intercept covering the intersection of money and politics. This series is called "Foreign Influence."</p> Thu, 04 Aug 2016 07:59:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061330 at http://personal.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 Video World obama elections Chelsea Manning Faces Indefinite Solitary Confinement & Extra Prison Time After Suicide Attempt http://personal.alternet.org/civil-liberties/chelsea-manning-faces-indefinite-solitary-confinement-extra-prison-time-after <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Imprisoned Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning faces new charges after she tried to commit suicide last month. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/image_of_chelsea_manning.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>The Army reportedly told Chelsea Manning she is being investigated on administrative charges that include having prohibited property in her cell and resisting being moved out of the cell. If convicted, Manning could face indefinite solitary confinement and additional time in prison. It could also hurt her chance of parole. Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year sentence in the disciplinary barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She has been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement and denied medical treatment related to her gender identity. In a newly published interview with Amnesty International, Manning said, "I am always afraid. I am still afraid of the power of government. A government can arrest you. It can imprison you. It can put out information about you that won’t get questioned by the public—everyone will just assume that what they are saying is true. Sometimes, a government can even kill you—with or without the benefit of a trial." We speak with Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the ACLU, who represents Chelsea Manning in a lawsuit against the Department of Defense.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2016/8/3/chelsea_manning_faces_indefinite_solitary_confinement" width="630"></iframe></p> Wed, 03 Aug 2016 11:05:00 -0700 Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! 1061288 at http://personal.alternet.org Civil Liberties Civil Liberties Video Chelsea Manning