Thursday, August 18, 2011

  • Juan Gonzalez: Verizon Workers’ Strike "Most Important Labor Battle Going on Today"

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    Telecom giant Verizon has threatened to suspend benefits to 45,000 striking workers if they do not return to work at the end of the month. The strike was called after negotiations after Verizon sought to cut health and pension benefits and obtain more leeway to fire workers. The strike is "the most important labor battle going on today," says Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez. "We’re not talking here about a General Motors or a company that’s in financial trouble. But Verizon is literally swimming in cash. [...] And yet, even with such a profitable company, you have a situation where it is demanding unprecedented givebacks from its workers. If Verizon, such a profitable company, can insist that its workforce has to do all of these cuts in their living standards, what does it mean about any other company in America? [...] The workers are vowing to keep this up as long as possible, because a company that is so profitable right now should not be insisting that its workers give up even more of the hard-fought gains they’ve had over the years." [includes rush transcript]

  • Undocumented Student Fanny Martinez Arrested Protesting Controversial Secure Communities Program

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    Last night in Chicago, the controversy over the immigration enforcement program called Secure Communities reached a dramatic standoff when six undocumented students were arrested protesting a meeting to discuss the program. Wearing T-shirts that said "Undocumented and Unafraid," the students joined about 300 people in walking out of the meeting. Once outside, they blocked an expressway on-ramp in an act of civil disobedience. Protests against Secure Communities were also held earlier this week in Houston, Boston, Miami, Atlanta and Charlotte. We go to Chicago to speak with Fanny Martinez, a 23-year-old graduate student in Chicago, one of those arrested at the meeting. She was released from jail shortly before we went to broadcast. [includes rush transcript]

  • Should U.S. End Secure Communities? Sheriff Adrian Garcia Debates Immigrant Advocate Chris Newman

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    Many are criticizing the Obama administration for unilaterally pushing ahead with a controversial federal immigration enforcement policy called Secure Communities that requires local police to forward fingerprints of every person they arrest to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In recent months, the governors of Illinois, Massachusetts and New York announced they are pulling out of the program, but now officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) say it is mandatory. ICE has also created a task force to study possible reforms. We host a debate on Secure Communities program with Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who helped ICE begin Secure Communities as a pilot program in Texas and is a member of the Secure Communities Task Force, and Chris Newman, legal director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, one of the immigrant rights groups spearheading national organizing efforts against Secure Communities. [includes rush transcript]

  • As Biden Visits China, Author David Wise on "Tiger Trap: America’s Secret Spy War with China"

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    Vice President Joe Biden arrived in China yesterday to begin a five-day trip aimed at reassuring leaders there of the stability of the U.S. economy and to begin building a relationship with that country’s most likely next president, Xi Jinping. The visit to the largest foreign creditor to the United States falls right after the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor’s, and just days after the Financial Times reported that Pakistan gave Chinese officials access to the wreckage of the top-secret U.S. stealth helicopter that crashed in the compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad during the U.S. raid in May. According to the report, an unnamed U.S. intelligence official said Chinese engineers were allowed to photograph the wreckage and retrieve a sample of the special stealth "skin" that allowed the helicopter to enter Pakistan undetected by radar. Meanwhile, Chinese officials have recently complained to the United States about its continued surveillance flights near the Chinese coast. But Admiral Mike Mullen, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, has vowed to continue the flights, which include the use of U-2 spy planes. To discuss the role espionage plays in the complex relationship between China and the United States, we speak with prominent national intelligence journalist David Wise, author of the new book "Tiger Trap: America’s Secret Spy War with China." [includes rush transcript]

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