Recent blog posts
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.07.24 with Cannon Flowers, Lerone, Patti and David Taffet
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.07.17 with Lerone, Patti and David Taffet Lambda Weekly
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.07.03 with Veletta Forsythe Lill , Lerone, Patti and David Taffet
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.07.03 with Buster Spiller, Lerone, Patti and David Taffet Lambda Weekly
- Texas Blues Radio, Living Blues radio poll report, July 1, 2016
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.06.26 with Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Lerone, Patti and David Taffet
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.06.19 with editor Monica Roberts, Lerone and David Taffet
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.06.12 with Linus Spiller, Patti and Lerone
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.06.05 with Patti, Lerone & David Taffet
- Knon 89.3, Lambda Weekly 2016.05.29 with Wesley Davidson, Lerone & David Taffet Lambda Weekly
- Sanders Wins Oregon Primary; Clinton Declares Victory in Tight Kentucky Race
- Donald Trump Moves Closer to Nomination with Oregon Win
- Sanders Criticizes Nevada Democratic Leadership After Disputed Convention
- Iraq: At Least 70 Killed in Latest Wave of Baghdad Bombings
- Senate Passes Bill to Let 9/11 Families Sue Saudi Arabia
- White House Threatens to Veto Draft of Military Spending Bill
- Mexican President Proposes Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Nationwide
- In Emotional Plea, Father of Missing Student Calls for Rapporteur to Visit Mexico
- Nigeria: Union Representing Millions Launches General Strike
- France: Scores Arrested as Up to 220,000 Protest Labor Reforms
- Millions More U.S. Workers to Become Eligible for Overtime Pay
- Chilean Court Asks U.S. to Extradite Former Pinochet Agents
- Pipeline Company Indicted over California Oil Spill
Chomsky on the Late Michael Ratner & How U.S. Thawed Cuba Ties to Avoid Dwindling Regional Influence
At the opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., last year after almost half a century, Democracy Now! spoke to attorney Michael Ratner, who played a key role in fighting for the habeas corpus rights of Guantánamo prisoners and wrote several books about the U.S. role in Cuba and Latin America. We discuss his legacy and new U.S. stance toward Cuba with Noam Chomsky, who argues the change came about in part because the United States was being driven out of the hemisphere. "Latin America used to be just the backyard. They do what you tell them. If they don’t do it, we throw them out and put in someone else. No more. Not in the last 10, 20 years."
This month President Obama will become the first serving U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb toward the end of World War II on what Noam Chomsky calls "the grimmest day I can remember." Chomsky examines the U.S. role in launching the nuclear age, Obama’s role in continuing it, and the rest of his legacy. "I don’t usually agree with Sarah Palin, but when she was ridiculing this—what she called this 'hopey-changey stuff,' she had a point. There were a few good things. ... But opportunities that were available, especially in the first two years when he had Congress with him, just were not used. By the standards of U.S. presidential politics, it’s kind of nothing special either way, nothing to rave about, certainly."
We speak with world-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky about the Republican party, the rightward shift in U.S. politics and the 2016 election. "If we were honest, we would say something that sounds utterly shocking and no doubt will be taken out of context and lead to hysteria on the part of the usual suspects," Chomsky says, "but the fact of the matter is that today’s Republican Party qualify as candidates for the most dangerous organization in human history. Literally."
As protests continue in Brazil over the Legislature’s vote to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and put her on trial, Noam Chomsky notes that "we have the one leading politician who hasn’t stolen to enrich herself, who’s being impeached by a gang of thieves, who have done so. That does count as a kind of soft coup." Rousseff’s replacement, Brazil’s former vice president, Michel Temer, is a member of the opposition PMDB party who is implicated in Brazil’s massive corruption scandal involving state-owned oil company Petrobras, and has now appointed an all-white male Cabinet charged with implementing corporate-friendly policies.
Chomsky: Saudi Arabia is the "Center of Radical Islamic Extremism" Now Spreading Among Sunni Muslims
As Saudi Arabia continues to fund fighting in Syria and Yemen, Noam Chomsky says it is "the center of radical Islamic extremism." Chomsky adds that the U.S. ally is "a source of not only funding for extremist radical Islam and the jihadi outgrowths of it, but also, doctrinally, mosques, clerics and so on, schools, you know, madrassas, where you study just Qur’an, is spreading all over the huge Sunni areas from Saudi influence."
Today, the U.S. and Russia co-chair a meeting of the 17-nation International Syria Support Group aimed at easing the five-year conflict with a death toll that has reached close to half a million people. Just last month, President Obama announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the official U.S. presence in the country. Syria is only one of a number of ongoing deadly conflicts in the Middle East. Last year, a record 60 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes, becoming refugees. For more on these conflicts and the rise of ISIS, we continue our conversation with internationally renowned political dissident, linguist and author, Noam Chomsky. "The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a major reason in the development, a primary reason in the incitement of sectarian conflicts, which have now exploded into these monstrosities," says Chomsky. He has written over 100 books, most recently, "Who Rules the World?" Chomsky is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than 50 years.
- North Carolina: 11 Arrested Protesting Anti-Transgender Law
- Trans Singer of Against Me! Burns Birth Certificate on Stage in North Carolina
- Democrats Vote in Kentucky, Oregon; Sanders Supporters Protest Nevada Results
- Puerto Rico: Sanders Decries Austerity in Campaign Stop
- Attorney Says Trump Could Sue over NYT Article on His Treatment of Women
- Supreme Court Declines to Rule on Key Birth Control Case
- Afghanistan: Thousands Flood Capital over Route of Electric Power Line
- Philippines President-Elect Vows to Resume Executions
- CIA Internal Watchdog Admits It Destroyed Copy of Senate Torture Report
- Mexico: Journalist Manuel Torres Shot Dead in Veracruz
- New York: Regulator Deals Blow to Residents Opposed to Gas Storage at Seneca Lake
- Intercept Begins Releasing Trove of Internal NSA Newsletters
Who is the world-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky voting for? "In the primaries, I would prefer Bernie Sanders," Chomsky says. "If Clinton is nominated and it comes to a choice between Clinton and Trump, in a swing state, a state where it’s going to matter which way you vote, I would vote against Trump, and by elementary arithmetic, that means you hold your nose and you vote Democrat. I don’t think there’s any other rational choice."
We speak with world-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky about where the Democratic presidential candidates stand on the issue of Israel and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS. "Boycott and sanctions make perfectly good sense when these tactics are properly applied, as they often are," Chomsky says. "You can understand why Hillary Clinton is frightened of them. They might undermine the policy of her husband and his predecessors, and Obama, as well, to support Israeli violence and aggression."
World-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky weighs in on Trump’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, particularly his denial of climate change and push for greater militarization. "Trump is saying, 'Yeah, let's make the global warming problem as dangerous and imminent as possible. Let’s march towards destruction of the species, like we’re destroying everyone else. And let’s escalate militarization and, at the same time, sharply cut down resources by radical tax cuts, mostly for the rich,’" Chomsky says. "This is a really astonishing moment in human history, if you look at it."
President Obama has just passed a little-noticed milestone, according to The New York Times: Obama has now been at war longer than any president in U.S. history—longer than George W. Bush, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Obama has taken military action in at least seven countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Just last month, President Obama announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the official U.S. presence in the country. As war spreads across the globe, a record 60 million people were driven from their homes last year. Experts warn the refugee crisis may also worsen due to the impacts of global warming. Over the weekend, NASA released data showing 2016 is on pace to be by far the hottest year ever, breaking the 2015 record. Meanwhile, many fear a new nuclear arms race has quietly begun, as the United States, Russia and China race to build arsenals of smaller nuclear weapons. These multiple crises come as voters in the United States prepare to elect a new president. We speak with one of the world’s preeminent intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years. His latest book is titled "Who Rules the World?"
- Washington State: 52 Arrested Blockading Tracks to Oil Refineries
- New York: Thousands Converge on Albany to Protest Oil "Bomb Trains"
- Germany: More Than 100 Arrested at Coal Protest Amid Global Wave of Actions
- Shell Spills 90,000 Gallons of Oil into Gulf of Mexico
- Last Month was the Hottest April Ever—by a Record Margin
- Iraq: ISIS Militants Attack Natural Gas Plant, Kill At Least 12
- Speaker Paul Ryan "Encouraged" After Trump Meeting
- Report: Women Detail Trump's Unwanted Advances, Comments on Their Bodies
- RNC Chair: "People Just Don't Care" About Reports Trump Mistreated Women
- GOP Megadonor Sheldon Adelson to Throw Millions Behind Trump
- Obama Takes Aim at Trump's Rhetoric in Rutgers Address
- Clinton, Sanders to Face Off in Kentucky and Oregon
- Venezuela: Maduro Extends State of Emergency, Accuses U.S. of Fomenting Coup
- Brazil: Protests Continue over Ouster of President Rousseff
- El Salvador Refuses to Recognize New Brazil Gov't After Rousseff Ouster
- Spain: Thousands Mark 5th Anniversary of Indignados Movement
- Pfizer Blocks the Use of Drugs in Executions
- Palestinian "Nakba" Demonstrators Met with Israeli Tear Gas
We go behind bars to get an update on the end of a 10-day strike by Alabama prisoners to protest severe overcrowding, poor living conditions and the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans slavery and servitude “except as a punishment for crime,” thus sanctioning the legality of forced, unpaid prison labor. "These strikes are our methods of challenging mass incarceration, as we understand the prison system is a continuation of the slave system, which is an economic system," says Kinetik Justice, who joins us by phone from solitary confinement in Holman Correctional Facility. He is co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement and one of the organizers of the strike. He says organizers tried petitioning their conditions via the courts and lawmakers, but when they were unsuccessful, "we understood our incarceration was pretty much about our labor and the money that was being generated from the prison system, therefore we began organizing around our labor and used it as a means and a method to bring about reform in the Alabama prison system."
As the death toll in Syria’s five-year conflict reportedly reaches half a million people, we look at how Syrians are working at the local level to survive and organize in the midst of war—and to keep the revolutionary spirit of the 2011 Syrian uprising alive. We are joined by Yasser Munif, a Syrian scholar who specializes in grassroots movements in Syria, who describes the ongoing work of media activists, journalists, medical crews and rescue workers. "They don’t perceive the kind of work they are doing as humanitarian or relief work. They perceive it as the backbone of the revolution," Munif notes. "The revolution is still alive. It may be marginal, but if there is a ceasefire … it can come back. It is very much invisible and, for some, unthinkable." Munif is the co-founder of the Campaign for Global Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution.
Brazil’s former vice president, Michel Temer, assumed power as interim president Thursday after the country’s Senate voted to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and begin impeachment proceedings over accusations she tampered with accounts in order to hide a budget shortfall. Rousseff called the move a coup. Temer is a member of the opposition PMDB party and has been implicated in Brazil’s massive corruption scandal involving state-owned oil company Petrobras. He was sworn in Thursday along with a new Cabinet that is all white and all men, making this the first time since 1979 that no women have been in the Cabinet. We are joined from Rio de Janeiro by Andrew Fishman, researcher and reporter for The Intercept, who discusses the role of the United States in protests against Rousseff, and the background of Temer’s new Cabinet members.
- Brazil: Michel Temer Takes Power as President Rousseff Vows to Fight Impeachment
- Obama: Students Have Right to Use Bathroom That Corresponds to Gender Identity
- Pope to Form Commission to Study Women Serving as Deacons
- Speaker Paul Ryan Appears to Warm to Donald Trump as Nominee
- Trump's Former Butler Called for President Obama to Be Hanged
- Iraq: ISIS Kills 20 Iraqi Soldiers and Tribal Fighters
- Syria: Fighting Breaks Out in Aleppo as Ceasefire Expires
- Somalia: U.S. Airstrike Kills 5
- Pentagon: 25 U.S. Soldiers Stationed at 2 Outposts in Libya
- Former 9/11 Commission Member Calls for Obama to Declassify 28 Pages
- Judge Rules Against Portion of Obama Healthcare Law
- U.S. Supreme Court Halts Execution of Vernon Madison in Alabama
- Alabama Governor Signs Law Banning Abortion Clinics Near Schools
- ICE to Launch Raids Targeting Central American Mothers and Children
- Google to Ban Advertising by Payday Lenders
- French Gov't Narrowly Survives No-Confidence Vote over Labor Reforms
Michael Ratner’s activism and human rights work dated back to the 1960s. He was a student at Columbia Law School during the 1968 student strike. He joined the Center for Constitutional Rights in 1971. His first case centered on a lawsuit filed on behalf of prisoners killed and injured in the Attica prison uprising in upstate New York. Ratner was deeply involved in Latin America and the Caribbean, challenging U.S. policy in Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and elsewhere. In 1981, he brought the first challenge under the War Powers Resolution to the use of troops in El Salvador, as well as a suit against U.S. officials on behalf of Nicaraguans raped, murdered and tortured by U.S.-backed contras. In 1991, he led the center’s challenge to the authority of President George H.W. Bush to go to war against Iraq without congressional consent. A decade later, he would become a leading critic of the George W. Bush administration, filing lawsuits related to Guantánamo, torture, domestic surveillance and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He also helped launch the group Palestine Legal to defend the rights of protesters in the U.S. calling for Palestinian human rights. We speak to three close friends of Ratner, all fellow attorneys: Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch; Michael Smith, board member of the Center for Constitutional Rights; and Jules Lobel, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh.
On Wednesday, the trailblazing attorney Michael Ratner died at the age of 72. In recent years, Ratner served as the chief attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and became a leading critic of the U.S. crackdown on whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. We reached Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he sought asylum nearly four years ago.
The groundbreaking human rights attorney Michael Ratner has died at the age of 72. For over four decades, he defended, investigated and spoke up for victims of human rights abuses across the world. Ratner served as the longtime president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. In 2002, the center brought the first case against the George W. Bush administration for the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantánamo. The Supreme Court eventually sided with the center in a landmark 2008 decision when it struck down the law that stripped Guantánamo prisoners of their habeas corpus rights. Ratner began working on Guantánamo in the 1990s, when he fought the first Bush administration’s use of the military base to house Haitian refugees. We begin today’s show with a speech he gave in 2007 when he was awarded the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship.