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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

  • Troy Davis Set To Be Executed on Wednesday After Georgia Pardons Board Denies Clemency

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    Shortly before our broadcast ended, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles announced it rejected clemency for Troy Anthony Davis. The Board has the sole authority to stay the execution under Georgia state law. Davis is now set to be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Davis was convicted for the 1989 killing of an off-duty white police officer. Since then, seven of the nine non-police witnesses have recanted their testimony, and there is no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime scene. Amnesty International, the NAACP and numerous other groups have called for clemency. Former FBI Director William Sessions is among those calling for a closer examination of whether Davis is guilty, joining a list that includes Pope Benedict XVI, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu. We speak with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader and founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, who has been a vocal supporter of the campaign to spare Davis’s life. We also speak with Mary Schmid Mergler, senior counsel for the Constitution Project’s Criminal Justice Program, who assembled statements from a former Georgia Supreme Court justice, congressman and prosecutors, as well as a former Texas governor, who urged the Supreme Court, and now the Georgia pardons board, to halt Davis’s execution and commute his death sentence to life in prison. [includes rush transcript]

  • Rev. Jesse Jackson on Taxing the Rich, Occupy Wall Street Protest and Palestinian Statehood

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    On Monday, President Obama proposed a new tax on millionaires as part of his plan to close the deficit and responded to opponents who have labeled his plan "class warfare." Republicans have vowed to defeat the tax, even as one in six Americans live in poverty. We speak with Rev. Jesse Jackson about how Obama’s plan also includes cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. "I would think, before we end up at that conclusion, we must go after where the money—where is the money?" Jackson says. "The money is in the four wars. The money is in corporations not paying their share of taxes. The money is in the banks." Jackson says he supports the "Occupy Wall Street" protests underway now in New York City. He also discusses the pending call by Ralph Nader for a primary challenger to Obama and the pending United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood. [includes rush transcript]

  • "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" Ban on Gay and Lesbians in the U.S. Military is Lifted

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    "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is no more. The military’s longstanding ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers officially expired at 12:01 a.m. EDT earlier today. Congress passed a repeal of the ban last year, but President Obama had deferred its implementation until military leaders gave their approval. The Pentagon now says it will no longer enforce the ban, meaning gays and lesbians can openly serve. We play excerpts from voices we have had on the program over the years speaking out against "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," including Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran who was eventually discharged under the ban. We also speak with Aaron Belkin, author of "How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’" "The big difference for the troops on the ground," says Belkin of the victory’s impact for military personnel, "is just that they can utter the words 'I am gay' without being fired." [includes rush transcript]

  • Court Ruling Backs Ecuadorian Effort to Hold Chevron Accountable for Amazon Pollution

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    A U.S. appeals court has ruled oil giant Chevron cannot escape an $18 billion fine for massive pollution of the Amazon rain forest. Amazonian residents won the damages in an Ecuadorian court earlier this year, and Chevron says it will appeal the decision. It is the latest development in a complex, 18-year legal battle that has gone before judges not just in Ecuador and the United States, but also The Hague. We speak with Atossa Soltani, executive director of Amazon Watch, which has worked closely with the Amazon residents suing Chevron. Atossa Soltani is in New York City this week to draw attention to environmental causes in the Amazon in conjunction with two major gatherings, the Clinton Global Initiative and the United Nations General Assembly. [includes rush transcript]