Wednesday, August 1, 2012

  • Longtime Critic of U.S. Empire, Iconoclastic Writer Gore Vidal Dies at 86

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    The author, playwright and activist Gore Vidal has died at the age of 86. A national icon who authored more than 20 novels and five plays, Vidal was one of the best-known chroniclers of American history and politics. He dedicated his work to writing and critiquing the injustices of U.S. society. In a 2004 appearance on Democracy Now!, Vidal talked about the role of democracy in the United States, dating back to the Constitution. [includes rush transcript]

  • Congressional Probe Reveals Cover-Up of "Auschwitz-Like" Conditions at U.S.-Funded Afghan Hospital

    Afghan_hospital

    A congressional investigation has revealed a top U.S. general in Afghanistan sought to stall an investigation into abuse at a U.S.-funded hospital in Kabul that kept patients in "Auschwitz-like" conditions. Army whistleblowers revealed photographs taken in 2010, which show severely neglected, starving patients at Dawood Hospital, considered the crown jewel of the Afghan medical system where the country’s military personnel are treated. The photos show severely emaciated patients, some suffering from gangrene and maggot-infested wounds. The general accused of the cover-up is Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, one of the nation’s highest-ranking commanders in Afghanistan, who served as the commander of the $11.2-billion-a-year Afghan training program. We speak to Michael Hastings, contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine and a reporter for BuzzFeed, which has been following the story closely. [includes rush transcript]

  • As U.S. Postal Service Faces Default, Critics See Manufactured Crisis to Speed Up Privatization

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    For months, Americans have heard dire warnings about the impending collapse of the United States Postal Service due to fiscal insolvency. As Republicans push to privatize the post office, the agency is now bracing for its first-ever default today. Unlike every other governmental agency, the Postal Service is required to fund 75 years of retiree health benefits over just a 10-year span. We discuss the fight over the Postal Service with Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Chuck Zlatkin of the New York Metro Area Postal Union. "The American people have to wake up here about what’s happening with the Postal Service," Kucinich says. "The whole concept of the Postal Service, embedded in that is the idea of universal service, that if you’re poor, you live in a rural area, you’re going to get served just like someone who lives in a city and who may be wealthy." [includes rush transcript]

  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich Unveils Movement-Fueled "Kucinich Action" to Continue Advocacy Post-Congress

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    Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio is retiring from Congress at the end of this term after losing his longtime Ohio seat under Republican-mandated redistricting at the end of the year. Kucinich joins us to discuss Kucinich Action, a "new organization dedicated to empowering individuals to engage with the political process." He also comments on Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary in Texas, where the Tea Party-backed Ted Cruz has defeated Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. [includes rush transcript]

  • DREAM Activist Speaks Out on Infiltrating Florida Detention Center to Find Wrongly Held Immigrants

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    In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we’re joined by DREAM activist Viridiana Martinez, who calls us live from a detention center in Pompano Beach, Florida. Martinez is one of a group of undocumented activists with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance who have infiltrated the Broward Transitional Center and found dozens of immigrants who should be released under Obama’s discretionary guidelines. A review of cases to remove low-priority deportations, such as those involving immigrants with no criminal records and strong family ties, has so far stopped less than 2 percent of removals. Click here to listen to a longer interview with Martinez conducted by Democracy Now!’s Renée Feltz. [includes rush transcript]

  • First Soldier Tried in Hazing Death of Pvt. Danny Chen Gets 30-Day Term, Evades Homicide Conviction

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    Army Pvt. Danny Chen allegedly took his own life in Afghanistan after he was abused by his fellow soldiers and superiors on an almost daily basis in what has been described as racial hazing. On Tuesday, Chen’s sergeant, Adam Holcomb, was found not guilty of negligent homicide but sentenced to 30 days in a military jail for lesser charges. Holcomb was the first of eight soldiers court-martialed in Chen’s death. We’re joined by two guests who have just returned from watching Sgt. Holcomb’s court-martial: Elizabeth OuYang, a Chen family spokesperson, president of the civil rights organization OCA-New York, and advocate for victims of hate crimes and fair media representation of Asian Americans; and Julia Chung, a Vassar College senior volunteering for the group Justice for Private Danny Chen. [includes rush transcript]

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