Recent blog posts
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The International Monetary Fund is demanding additional austerity measures from Greece if it does not hit its budget targets. It’s the latest impasse in years of fierce political clashes between Greece and international creditors. We are joined by a man who had a front-row seat to these battles: the former Greek finance minister for the anti-austerity Syriza party, Yanis Varoufakis. In his new book, "And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe’s Crisis and America’s Economic Future," he describes how he helped lead Greece’s battle against European Central bankers and a historic referendum in which Greeks resoundingly voted down austerity. But only days after the "no" vote, he resigned. Varoufakis elaborates on the resignation statement he issued last July, when he wrote, "Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted 'partners', for my … 'absence' from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the ministry of finance today." He famously said at the time, "I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride."
We continue our conversation with former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis as the White House is backing calls for Greece to continue to implement widespread austerity measures, following President Obama’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week. Greece and its international creditors are once again negotiating the terms of the bailout and the extent of the austerity measures creditors can impose. Varoufakis responds to the German government’s claim that the majority of Germans oppose giving more money to Greece, and addresses the previous bailouts. "What happened to that money? It wasn’t money for Greece. It was money for the banks," Varoufakis says. "The Greek people took on the largest loan in human history on behalf of German and French bankers." He notes the conditions of the loan "guaranteed our national income would shrink by one-third. So it was impossible to repay that money." He says he opposes taking additional funds until the country’s economy is more stable.
As the White House is backing calls for Greece to continue to implement widespread austerity measures, we spend the hour with former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. Earlier this week, negotiations between Greece and international creditors hit an impasse over the bankers’ demands for extra austerity measures. The International Monetary Fund is demanding cutting Greek pensions and eliminating income-tax exemptions if Greece does not hit its budget targets. "Cutting down pension is not reform. It’s like confusing butchery for surgery," says Varoufakis. He served as the Syriza party’s first finance minister after the left-wing party took power in 2015, after promoting an anti-austerity platform. He is in the United States promoting his new book, "And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe’s Crisis and America’s Economic Future." Earlier this year, he launched a new pan-European umbrella organization called Democracy in Europe Movement 2025, or DiEM25.
During an event Tuesday at the Brooklyn Public Library, Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and professor, was asked about Bernie Sanders’ run for the White House. "[H]e’s considered radical and extremist, which is a pretty interesting characterization, because he’s basically a mainstream New Deal Democrat," Chomsky said. "His positions would not have surprised President Eisenhower, who said, in fact, that anyone who does not accept New Deal programs doesn’t belong in the American political system. That’s now considered very radical." Chomsky concluded by noting that Sanders "has mobilized a large number of young people, these young people who are saying, 'Look, we’re not going to consent anymore.' And if that turns into a continuing, organized, mobilized force, that could change the country—maybe not for this election, but in the longer term."
- Bernie Sanders to Cut Staffers and Focus on California
- Ted Cruz Names Carly Fiorina as Running Mate
- Donald Trump Offers Ideas About Foreign Policy
- Former House Speaker Hastert Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison
- Oklahoma Court Rules Oral Sex with Unconscious Person is Not Rape
- White House Backs IMF Push for More Austerity in Greece
- Syria: 14 Patients & 3 Doctors Killed in Airstrikes
- Target: Workers & Customers Can Use Bathroom Corresponding to Gender Identity
- NYC: 700+ Police and Feds Execute Mass Arrest in Bronx
- Baltimore Police Shoot 14-Year-Old Boy with BB Gun
- Oliver Stone to Direct New Movie on Snowden
We are on the road in New Mexico, where a presidential primary is set for June. We continue our conversation on the 2016 election with four guests and discuss key positions of the five remaining Democratic and Republican candidates and the role independent voters will play during the election in November. We speak with New Mexico State Senators Jerry Ortiz y Pino (Democrat) and Sue Wilson Beffort (Republican); Diane Denish, former lieutenant governor of New Mexico; and Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate.
We are on the road in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we speak with the state’s former two-term Republican Governor Gary Johnson about why he is now running for president as a Libertarian. He could become the only third-party candidate on the ballot in all 50 states this year. Johnson was also the Libertarian nominee for president in 2012, but was excluded from almost all of the presidential debates in 2012. He is now suing the Commission on Presidential Debates. Johnson discusses his platform and says, "We should have choices in our own lives … as long as those choices don’t adversely affect others." He notes he is pro-choice, and critical of U.S. military intervention and the use of drone strikes that have killed civilians and created "unintended consequences."
Tuesday was another big night for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In the Republican race, Trump won all five states up for grabs: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. He won at least 54 percent in every state, capturing most of the delegates at stake. John Kasich placed second in four of the contests. Ted Cruz placed second in one. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut. Sanders took Rhode Island. We begin a roundtable discussion with four guests in New Mexico talking about Trump’s rise to become, as he now refers to himself, "the presumptive nominee." "We have seen guns coming up from Mexico," says Sue Wilson Beffort, a Republican member of the New Mexico state Senate, who has not endorsed any presidential candidate but shares Trump’s concerns about a "porous" border. "That’s all rhetoric," responds Diane Denish, former lieutenant governor of New Mexico, who has endorsed Clinton for president. "We are what America is going to be in a few years: We are a minority-majority state. … And the fact that Donald Trump wants to scare people and tell them that the people that are coming are murderers and rapists, … that is just not happening." We also speak with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who is running for president as a Libertarian and was the Libertarian nominee for president in 2012. He was a Republican during his two terms as governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. And we’re joined by Jerry Ortiz y Pino, a Democratic member of the New Mexico state Senate, who has endorsed Bernie Sanders.
- Trump Wins All 5 Primary States; Clinton Wins 4; Sanders Takes 1
- Establishment Democrats Win Senate Primaries in Maryland, Pennsylvania
- Yemen: U.S. Drone Strike Kills 6, Including al-Qaeda Leader
- U.S. to Deploy Rocket Launcher System in Turkey Near Syria
- Spain Headed for New Election After Failed Bid to Form Leftist Coalition
- Venezuela: Right-Wing Opponents Start Bid to Recall Maduro Amid Energy Crisis
- Thousands Mark 19 Months Since 43 Students Disappeared; U.N. Expresses Concern
- Mexican Journalist Shot to Death Outside Home in Guerrero State
- Whistleblowers & Journalist Go on Trial in "Luxembourg Leaks" Case
- Protesters on Hunger Strike over San Francisco Police Killings
- Las Vegas Review-Journal Columnist Quits After Being Banned from Writing on Sheldon Adelson
- Florida GOP Senate Candidate Wants to Ban Anyone from Middle East – Except Israel
We are on the road in New Mexico, home to Los Alamos and the birthplace of the nuclear age. The atomic bombs used in World War II were designed and developed here, and it remains one of two places that design every nuclear weapon in the United States arsenal. This comes as today marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in the former Soviet state of Ukraine, which is still considered the worst nuclear disaster in history. It sent a cloud of radioactive fallout into Russia, Belarus and over a large portion of Europe. Fifty thousand people living in Chernobyl’s immediate surroundings had to be evacuated, and a vast rural region became uninhabitable. The legacy of Chernobyl and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power accident, which occurred five years ago last month in Japan, particularly resonates with residents here in the Southwest and in the Western United States. The other facility is in Livermore Lab in California, and we recently spoke with Marylia Kelley, a Livermore resident and the executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs, or Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, a partner organization with the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability. The group just put out a new report called "Trillion Dollar Trainwreck: Out-of-control U.S. nuclear weapons programs accelerate spending, proliferation, health and safety risks."
We speak with family members who have just concluded a five-day hunger strike marking the first anniversary of the death of Samuel Harrell, who died after as many as 20 corrections officers kicked, punched and threw him down a flight of stairs while he was incarcerated at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, New York. An autopsy report determined the African-American man’s death was a homicide caused by a "physical altercation with corrections officers." Some of the officers were known around the prison as the Beat Up Squad. The superintendent at Fishkill, William J. Connolly, abruptly resigned in the weeks after the incident, and both the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. District Attorney’s Office have launched investigations into the case. But more than a year later, no one has been charged in Samuel Harrell’s death, and the correctional officers involved in the assault are still working at the prison. Harrell’s father, Samuel Harrell Sr., and sister, Cerissa, discuss why they want the officers "held accountable, just like any other citizen," and how they are calling for body cameras to be used in correctional facilities and for guards to receive better training for de-escalating misunderstandings and dealing with people who have mental illnesses.
As Cleveland officials agree to pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit by the family of Tamir Rice, the youngest victim in a spate of well-known police killings of unarmed African Americans, we speak with Zoe Salzman, one of his family’s attorneys, and with Rian Brown, an organizer from Black Lives Matter in Cleveland. Under the terms of the settlement, Cleveland will reportedly admit to no wrongdoing, and the Rice family will drop its complaint against the two officers, including the one who shot the 12-year-old child in 2014 while he was playing with a toy pellet gun in a Cleveland park. A 911 caller reported seeing Rice with a weapon but noted it was "probably fake." That information was not relayed to the responding officers, who shot him within two seconds of arriving at the scene. A grand jury has failed to bring charges against either of the officers. Brown notes the prosecutor in the case was elected out of office in a recent primary, and says Black Lives Matter activists will now focus on calling for the officers to be fired.
- Family of Tamir Rice to Receive $6M for Cleveland Police Killing of 12-Year-Old
- Voters Head to Polls in 5 States for "Acela Primary"
- Pollster: Sanders Is "Moving a Generation to the Left"
- Trump & Clinton Share Delaware Address Known for Tax Loophole
- Billionaire Environmentalist Tom Steyer Pledges $25 Million to Spur Youth Vote
- Judge Upholds Sweeping North Carolina Voting Restrictions
- More Than 50 Arrested Protesting North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Law
- Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas Cancel Shows in North Carolina over Anti-LGBT Law
- Bangladesh: Gay Rights Activist Hacked to Death in Dhaka
- Canadian Man Beheaded by Militants in the Philippines
- Court Lets Criminal Sexual Assault Case Against Bill Cosby Move Ahead
- Australian MP Sets River on Fire to Protest Fracking
- Ukraine Marks 30th Anniversary of Chernobyl, World's Worst Nuclear Disaster
Sy Hersh's Book on Bin Laden Killing Rejects U.S. Story, Says Saudis Financed Hiding of Qaeda Leader
Next month will mark the fifth anniversary of the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. We speak with legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh about his new book, "The Killing of Osama bin Laden," in which he argues the official U.S. account of how bin Laden was found and killed was deceptive, and that Pakistan detained bin Laden in 2006 and kept him prisoner with the backing of Saudi Arabia. He suggests that the U.S. and Pakistan then struck a deal: The U.S. would raid bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, but make it look as if Pakistan was unaware.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh rejects the Obama administration’s claim that the Bashar al-Assad regime carried out deadly chemical weapon attacks in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in August 2013 that killed hundreds of Syrian civilians. "We had a crime," Hersh says. "Sarin was used. ... But the only villain we looked at was the Syrian government, when the United States had had internal high-level CIA reports that ... extremist groups were getting the precursor chemicals needed to make sarin [gas] from the Turks and also from the Saudis." Hersh writes in his new book that al-Nusra, a militant group fighting in Syria’s civil war, had "mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity."
Legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh weighs in on the foreign policy positions of the 2016 presidential candidates. "For me to say who I’m going to vote for and all that … I’m not a political leader, that’s not what I’m into," Hersh says. "But I will say this: Something that’s amazing is happening in this country, and for the first time, I do think it’s going to be very hard for a lot of the people who support Sanders to support Hillary Clinton. … There’s a whole group of young people in America, across the board, all races, etc., etc., who have just had it with our system."
President Obama has announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the U.S. presence in the country. This comes just days after the Obama administration announced 217 more troops would be sent to Iraq to help in the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State. As the U.S. expands its presence in Iraq and Syria, we speak with the legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who has just published a new book titled "The Killing of Osama bin Laden." In the introduction, Hersh writes: "It’s now evident, fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks, that Obama’s foreign policy has maintained many of the core elements of the Global War on Terror initiated by his predecessor—assassinations, drone attacks, heavy reliance on special forces, covert operations and, in the case of Afghanistan, the continued use of American ground forces in combat. And, as in the years of Bush and Cheney, there has been no progress, let alone victory, in the fight against terrorism."
- Obama to Deploy 250 More Special Ops Forces to Syria
- Germany: Up to 90,000 Protest TTIP U.S.-EU Trade Deal Ahead of Obama Visit
- Kasich, Cruz to Coordinate in Bid to Defeat Trump
- GOP Megadonor Charles Koch Suggests He Could Back Clinton
- Virginia Governor Restores Voting Rights to 200,000 Felons
- 8 Family Members Shot to Death in Ohio; 5 Killed in Georgia
- In Victory for CIA Torture Victims, Judge Lets Lawsuit Against Psychologists Advance
- Saudi Human Rights Activist Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison
- Nigerian Military Accused of Massacring Hundreds of People
- Austria: Far-Right Candidate Tops 1st Round of Presidential Elections
- Expert Panel Accuses Mexican Gov't of Stonewalling Probe of 43 Missing Students
- Immigration Guard Could Serve Less Time for Sexual Assault Than His Victim Did in Detention
- Woman Who was Among 1st to Sue over Flint Water Crisis Shot Dead
- Family of Man Killed by Corrections Officers Stages 5-Day Hunger Strike
As we are on the road in Colorado, we look at how Boulder is debating an international conflict. This week the Boulder City Council agreed to hire a moderator and convene a citizen panel to mediate disagreements over a proposal to make Boulder a sister city of Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. A group of residents applied to the City Council to recognize Nablus as a sister city, writing, "Boulder and Nablus have so much in common that they are natural sisters for each other. … We believe that there is no better moment for people-to-people connections that can contribute to further understanding." But a previous effort to recognize Nablus as a sister city was voted down by the Boulder City Council in 2013. We host a debate between two Boulder residents. Essrea Cherin is board chair of the Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project, which applied for Nablus to be officially recognized as a sister city of Boulder, and Bruce Shaffer is a retired attorney who opposes the plan.
As the world marks Earth Day, more than 60 heads of state meet at the United Nations headquarters to sign the Paris climate agreement aimed at slowing climate change. Many countries still need to formally approve the agreement, which will only enter into force when it is ratified by 55 nations that account for 55 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Experts say the cuts promised in the deal are insufficient to avert dangerous global warming. This comes as Gulf Coast communities marked the sixth anniversary of the BP oil spill by demanding no new drilling. For more, we speak to reporter Antonia Juhasz. Her new report in Rolling Stone is "Six Years After BP Gulf Oil Spill, Residents Demand 'No New Drilling.'" Her most recent book is "Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill."