Juan González

Media Giant Sinclair, Under Fire for Forcing Anchors to Read Trumpian Screed, Is Rapidly Expanding

While Sinclair Broadcast Group is not a household name, it is one of the most powerful TV companies in the nation. It owns 173 local TV stations across the country, including affiliates of all the major networks. And it’s attempting to grow even larger by purchasing Tribune Media—a $3.9 billion deal currently under regulatory review. Sinclair has been widely criticized for its close ties to the White House. But Sinclair is facing new scrutiny after it ordered news anchors at scores of its affiliate stations to recite nearly identical “must-read” commentaries warning of the dangers of “fake news” in language that echoes President Trump’s rhetoric. The commentaries reached millions of viewers last month and drew widespread attention after the website Deadspin published a video over the weekend showing side-by-side comparisons of the broadcasts from 45 Sinclair-owned stations. We speak to Andy Kroll, senior reporter at Mother Jones magazine.

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'The Battle for Paradise': Naomi Klein on Disaster Capitalism & the Fight for Puerto Rico’s Future

Six months since Hurricane Maria battered the island of Puerto Rico, the island is the site of a pitched battle between wealthy investors—particularly from the technology industry—and everyday Puerto Ricans fighting for a place in their island’s future. The Puerto Rican government has pushed for a series of privatization schemes, including privatizing PREPA, one of the largest public power providers in the United States, and increasing the number of privately run charter schools and private school vouchers. For more, we speak with best-selling author and journalist Naomi Klein, author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” Her latest piece for The Intercept, where she is a senior correspondent, is “The Battle for Paradise: Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich 'Puertopians' Are Locked in a Pitched Struggle over How to Remake the Island.”

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Overthrow: 100 Years of U.S. Meddling and Regime Change, From Iran to Nicaragua to Hawaii to Cuba

As special counsel Robert Mueller continues his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, we take a look back at Washington’s record of meddling in elections across the globe. By one count, the United States has interfered in more than 80 foreign elections between 1946 and 2000. And that doesn’t count U.S.-backed coups and invasions. We speak to former New York Times reporter Stephen Kinzer, author of “Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq.”

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As Student Outrage Builds, Gun Manufacturers Continue Targeting 'Next Generation of Shooters'

In Parkland, Florida, students returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Sunday afternoon for the first time inside their school since February 14, when a 19-year-old former student named Nikolas Cruz walked into the school and opened fire with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, killing 17 people. This comes as lawmakers return to Capitol Hill today after a one-week vacation. Congress is facing massive pressure to pass gun control measures amid the rise of an unprecedented youth movement, led by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who survived the mass shooting. President Trump has reiterated his calls to arm teachers with concealed weapons. For more, we speak with The Intercept’s investigative reporter Lee Fang, whose recent piece is entitled “Even as a Student Movement Rises, Gun Manufacturers Are Targeting Young People.”

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Robert Reich: Morality and the Common Good Must Be at Center of Fighting Trump’s Economic Agenda

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump made a promise to the American people: There would be no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Well, the promise has not been kept. Under his new budget, President Trump proposes a massive increase in Pentagon spending while cutting funding for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Trump’s budget would also slash or completely eliminate core anti-poverty programs that form the heart of the U.S. social safety net, from childhood nutrition to care for the elderly and job training. This comes after President Trump and Republican lawmakers pushed through a $1.5 trillion tax cut that overwhelmingly favors the richest Americans, including President Trump and his own family. We speak to Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary under President Bill Clinton. He is now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His most recent book, out today, is titled The Common Good.

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As Deadly Flu Sweeps Country, Koch-Backed Group Fights Paid Sick Leave Policies Nationwide

This week marks 25 years since Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, which gave employees in the U.S. the right to unpaid time off to care for themselves and family members. A decade later, San Francisco became the first city to approve paid sick leave. Today some 14 million workers in 32 municipalities and nine states have paid sick leave policies. On Thursday, Austin city councilmembers will vote on an ordinance that would make it the first city in the South to require paid sick leave from private employers. But the measure is facing strong opposition from a Koch brothers-backed lobbying group called the National Federation of Independent Business, which is fighting paid sick leave policies across the country. This the same lobbying group that led the opposition to the Affordable Care Act. For more we speak to Gregorio Casar, the Austin city councilmember who introduced the paid sick leave measure. When he first won election in 2014, he was the youngest councilmember in the city’s history. He is the son of Mexican immigrants.

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When Deportation Is a Death Sentence: The Fatal Consequences of U.S. Immigration Policy

As the battle over the DREAMers and DACA heats up in Washington, we look at a stunning new piece in The New Yorker titled “When Deportation is a Death Sentence.” It looks at how an unknown number of men and women As the battle over the DREAMers and DACA heats up in Washington, we look at a stunning new piece in the New Yorker titled “When Deportation Is a Death Sentence.” It looks at how an unknown number of men and women have been killed in their home countries after being deported or turned away by the United States. The article focuses in part on a Mexican-born woman named Laura. Despite living her whole adult life in Texas, she was deported to Mexico after a traffic stop. She warned a U.S. Border Patrol agent, “When I am found dead, it will be on your conscience.” Within a week of her deportation, she was murdered by her ex-husband. We are joined by the award-winning journalist and New Yorker staff writer Sarah Stillman. She is also director of the Global Migration Project at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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The Whitewashing and Distortion of Rosa Parks and MLK’s Legacies

In February 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “The Drum Major Instinct" sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, two months before his assassination. On Sunday, 50 years later, the words of his sermon were used to in a Dodge Ram truck advertisement at the Super Bowl. The ad sparked widespread criticism for the obvious distortion of Dr. King’s message. But other revisions to civil rights history are often more subtle. For more, we speak with the author of a new book showing how the legacy of the civil rights movement in the U.S. has been distorted and whitewashed for public consumption. Professor and historian Jeanne Theoharis’s new book is titled “A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History.” She is also the author of the award-winning book “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks."

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Judge Says ICE Detention of Recently Released Immigration Activist Was 'Unnecessarily Cruel'

Last month, Ravi Ragbir was one of several nationally recognized activists to be taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was handcuffed and arrested during his routine check-in on January 11, prompting a mass protest that ended with 18 arrested, including two members of the New York City Council. Ravi was then quickly flown by ICE, in shackles, to the Krome Detention Center in Florida. As he faced imminent deportation to his native Trinidad, public outcry grew. Then ICE informed his lawyers that he would be brought back to detention in the New York City area. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest said Ragbir’s detention was “unnecessarily cruel,” and ordered ICE to free him. But he still faces deportation. For more, we hear from Ravi Ragbir himself, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition.

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'When They Call You a Terrorist': The Life of Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors

We turn now to a powerful new book, released today [Tuesday], that tells the story of one woman as she fights back against the impacts of social and racial injustice in America on her family. That woman is Patrisse Khan-Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. The book, titled “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir,” is both an account of survival, strength and resilience, and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable. Patrisse’s story follows her childhood in Los Angeles in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as her mother worked three jobs, struggling to earn a living wage. And it puts a human face on the way mass incarceration and the war on drugs hurt young black men, including her relatives and friends. Patrisse’s father was a victim of the drug war. He died at the age of 50. Her brother spent years in prison for nonviolent crimes stemming from his battles against mental illness. He was once even charged with terrorism after being involved in a car accident. The police would target Patrisse, too—raiding her house without just cause. In 2013, after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Patrisse co-founded Black Lives Matter along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. The movement began online but soon spread across the country. We speak to Patrisse and her co-author, asha bandele. asha is author of five books, including the best-seller “The Prisoner’s Wife.” She is a senior director at the Drug Policy Alliance.

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Remembering Black Lives Matter Activist Erica Garner's Unwavering Push for Justice After Her Father Died in NYPD Chokehold

We remember Black Lives Matter activist Erica Garner, who died Saturday after she fell into a coma following an asthma-induced heart attack. She was just 27 years old. Erica helped lead the struggle for justice for her father, Eric Garner, who was killed when police officers in Staten Island wrestled him to the ground, pinned him down and applied a fatal chokehold in 2014. His final words were “I can’t breathe,” which he repeated 11 times. In August, Erica gave birth to her second child, a boy named after her late father. Doctors say the pregnancy strained her heart. We feature Erica in her own words on Democracy Now!, and we speak with two people who were close to her: The Intercept’s Shaun King and The Root’s Kirsten West Savali, whose piece is headlined “Erica Garner: ’I’m in This Fight Forever.’”

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Glenn Greenwald: Is Facebook Operating as an Arm of the Israeli State by Removing Palestinian Posts?

Facebook is being accused of censoring Palestinian activists who protest the Israeli occupation. This comes as Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked reportedly said in December that Tel Aviv had submitted 158 requests to Facebook over the previous four months asking it to remove content it deemed “incitement,” and said Facebook had granted 95 percent of the requests. We speak with Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Greenwald about his new report for The Intercept headlined “Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments.”

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Trials Begin for 200 Anti-Trump Protesters and Journalists Who Were Arrested en Masse

The first trial of the nearly 200 people arrested during President Trump’s inauguration is underway and involves six people, including one journalist, Alexei Wood, a freelance photojournalist and videographer based in San Antonio. The defendants were charged under the Federal Riot Statute and face multiple felony and misdemeanor charges, including inciting or urging to riot, conspiracy to riot and multiple counts of destruction of property. We get an update from Jude Ortiz, a member of the organizing crew of Defend J20 and the Mass Defense Committee Chair for the National Lawyers Guild, and speak with defendant Elizabeth Lagesse, who is also a plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit which charges D.C. police mistreated detainees after their arrests at the inauguration.

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How Gutting Net Neutrality Poses a Direct Threat to Political Organizing

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai issued a major order Tuesday in which he outlined his plan to dismantle landmark regulations that ensure equal access to the internet. Pai wants to repeal net neutrality rules that bar internet service providers from stopping or slowing down the delivery of websites and stop companies from charging extra fees for high-quality streaming. A formal vote on the plan is set for December 14th. We speak with Tim Karr, Senior Director of Strategy for Free Press, which is organizing support to keep the rules in place ahead of the vote.

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How Domestic Violence and Militarism 'Open the Floodgates' to Mass Shootings Like the Texas Massacre

The 26-year-old white man named Devin Patrick Kelley who allegedly killed 26 people Sunday as they attended church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, had a history of domestic violence. He was court-martialed on charges he repeatedly hit his wife and attacked his stepson. But after he was kicked out of the Air Force with a bad conduct discharge, officials failed to report his crimes to a federal database, so Kelley had no problem buying the gun he used Sunday. We look at the link between mass shootings and domestic violence with Soraya Chemaly, director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project, and with Mariame Kaba, an organizer and educator who works on anti-domestic violence programs.

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What American Gun Control Advocates Can Learn From Australia

In the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night by 64-year-old Stephen Paddock that left 59 people dead and 527 others wounded, we look at calls for gun control and how Australia worked to change its culture of gun violence after a massacre 20 years ago—and won. In April of 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in Port Arthur, Tasmania, killing 35 and wounding 23 others. Within 12 days of the attack, Australia’s conservative government announced a bipartisan deal to enact gun control measures. There has not been another mass shooting in Australia since. We speak with Rebecca Peters, who led the campaign to reform Australia’s gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre and is now an international arms control advocate and part of the International Network on Small Arms.

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Naomi Klein: Climate Movement Is Growing Even More Ambitious as U.S. Goes Rogue and Exits Paris Accord (Video)

The United States has refused to sign on to a G7 pledge saying the 2015 landmark Paris climate accord is "irreversible."

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Hear Hillary Clinton Defend Her Role in Honduras Coup When Questioned by Juan González

With the New York primary less than a week away, the race for the Democratic nomination continues to heat up. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will meet Thursday in Brooklyn for their first debate in over a month. We begin today’s show looking at Hillary Clinton and Honduras. Earlier this week, the former secretary of state publicly defended her role in the 2009 coup in Honduras that ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. Since the coup, Honduras has become one of the most violent places in the world. Clinton was asked about Honduras during a meeting with the New York Daily News editorial board on Saturday. The question was posed by Democracy Now!’s own Juan González.

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Matt Taibbi and Bank Whistleblower on How JPMorgan Chase Helped Wreck the Economy and Avoid Prosecution

The following is a transcript of a Democracy Now! segment. 

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More Than 400 Arrested as Growing Fast-Food Workers’ Movement Strikes for Living Wage, Unionization

Fast-food workers fighting for a $15 hourly wage and union rights took to the streets in 150 cities across the country Thursday. More than 400 workers and their supporters were arrested during the strikes as they engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience by blocking streets during rush hour. To discuss this growing labor movement, we are joined by two guests: Ashona Osborne, a fast-food worker at Wendy’s who was arrested Thursday during the fast-food worker strikes, and before that in May during protests at the McDonald’s shareholders’ meeting; and Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents two million workers in healthcare, public and property services and has been a major backer of the fast-food worker strikes.

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Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas on His New Work "Documented: A Film by an Undocumented American"

As comprehensive immigration reform has languished in Congress, undocumented immigrants have increasingly come forward to share their stories in order to call attention to the need for a change in federal laws. One of the leading voices has been Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. In 2011, he outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in an essay published in The New York Times Magazine. He chronicles his experience in the new film, "Documented: A Film by an Undocumented American."

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Internet For the 1 Percent: New FCC Rules Strike Down Net Neutrality, Opening Fast Lanes for Fees

Federal regulators have unveiled new rules that would effectively abandon net neutrality, the concept of a free and open Internet. The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission would allow Internet providers like Verizon or Comcast to charge media companies like Netflix or Amazon extra fees in order to receive preferential treatment, such as faster speeds for their content. If the new rules are voted on next month, the FCC will begin accepting public comments and issue final regulations by the end of summer. “What we’re really seeing here is the transformation of the Internet where the 1 percent get the fast lanes, and the 99 percent get the slow lanes,” says Michael Copps, retired FCC Commissioner. “If we let that happen, we have really undercut the potential of this transformative technology. This has to be stopped.” We are also joined by Astra Taylor, author of the new book, “The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age."

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How Refusing to Be an FBI Informant Can Get You Put on the No-Fly List

Naveed Shinwari is one of four American Muslims who filed suit against the government this week for placing them on the U.S. "no-fly list" in order to coerce them into becoming FBI informants. The plaintiffs say the government refuses to explain why they were named on the no-fly list. They also believe that their names continue to be listed because they would not agree to become FBI informants and spy on their local communities. "It’s very frustrating, you feel helpless," Shinwari says. "No one will tell you how you can get off of it, how you got on it. It has a profound impact on people’s lives." We are also joined by Shayana Kadidal, senior managing attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is seeking to remove the men from the no-fly list and establish a new legal mechanism to challenge placement on it.

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As Deportations Top 2 Million, Should Activists Push for Executive Order or Congressional Action?

Protesters took to the streets in more than 60 cities on Saturday to call on President Obama to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants. Some marked it as the date when the Obama administration likely reached its two millionth deportation. This comes as The New York Times reports that two-thirds of those deported under Obama had committed minor infractions, such as traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all. More than 5,000 children whose parents were removed from the country have ended up in foster care. But some activists say presidential action on deportations is not enough. They are focused instead on the passage of a bill in Congress that includes a path to citizenship. As Obama’s policies come under increasing scrutiny, we host a debate: Should the immigrant rights movement push Obama to take executive action to immediately stop deportations, or should the focus remain on pressuring Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill? We are joined by two guests: Pablo Alvarado, president of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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Wells Fargo Caught Forging Mortage Documents - Will We Finally See Jail Time for the Bankers?

A new internal report says the Justice Department massively overstated its successes in targeting mortgage fraud while in fact ranking it as a low priority for investigation. The Justice Department’s inspector general says despite playing a central role in the nation’s financial crisis, mortgage fraud was deemed either a low priority or not a priority at all. This comes as a recently revealed internal Wells Fargo document appears to guide lawyers step by step on how to fabricate missing documents to foreclose on homeowners. Wells Fargo is the country’s largest mortgage servicer and services some nine million home loans.

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Georgia Activists Confront GOP Rejection of Medicaid as Moral Mondays Spread Across South

"Medicaid expansion now!" was the rallying cry this week of a rising grassroots movement spreading across the South. Nearly 40 people were arrested at the Georgia State Senate on Tuesday protesting a bill that would bar the expansion of Medicaid. Georgia has the fifth-highest number of uninsured people of any state in the country. Under the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 650,000 additional residents would be eligible for Medicaid. But Georgia is one of a number of Republican-led states that have opted out of such Medicaid expansion. The protest at the Georgia State Senate was the largest to date by Moral Monday Georgia, an outgrowth of the Moral Monday movement that began in North Carolina. We are joined by Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, which was the spiritual home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Rev. Warnock was among the protesters arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience on Tuesday. "Dr. King said that the time comes when silence is betrayal," Rev. Warnock says. "That time is now. The issue is affordable healthcare for all in the richest country in the world."

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Years of American Hostility to Russia Sparked Crimea Crisis Former U.S. Ambassador Says

The standoff over Ukraine and the fate of Crimea has sparked the worst East-West crisis since the end of the Cold War. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on top Russian officials while announcing new military exercises in Baltic states. Meanwhile in Moscow, the Russian government says it is considering changing its stance on Iran’s nuclear talks in response to newly imposed U.S. sanctions. As tensions rise, we are joined by Jack Matlock, who served as the last U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union. Matlock argues that Russian President Vladimir Putin is acting in response to years of perceived hostility from the U.S., from the eastward expansion of NATO to the bombing of Serbia to the expansion of American military bases in eastern Europe.

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