Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • NYC Suspends Massive 911 System Overhaul to Probe Lengthy Delays, $1 Billion Over Budget


    In an exclusive for the New York Daily News, Democracy Now! co-host Juan González reports New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has suspended a major overhaul of the city’s 911 emergency system to probe the project’s lengthy delay and a cost overrun now topping $1 billion. A signature initiative of the Michael Bloomberg era, González calls the move "a stunning admission by the de Blasio administration that the 911 overhaul is more troubled than officials have been willing to admit."

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  • Lavabit Founder: Gov’t "Bold-Faced Lies" & Mass Surveillance Effort Forced Me to Close My Company


    Ladar Levison, founder of the encrypted email provider Lavabit, details why he was forced to shut down his company last summer after the U.S. government attempted to seize Edward Snowden’s email information and much more. The FBI was targeting Snowden after he exposed the National Security Agency’s surveillance to the world, but in doing so effectively wanted access to the accounts of 400,000 other Lavabit customers. Levison was barred from discussing the case in detail at the time, saying only that he had refused "to become complicit in crimes against the American people." Earlier this week, a federal judge unsealed key parts of the record detailing the government’s requests from Lavabit, freeing Levison to talk more openly about what happened. "The government was telling bold-faced lies," Levison says. "It was impossible to trust them with the access they wanted. The only option was to shut down or to become complicit in what they were seeking — the mass surveillance of my customers."

  • Missouri Death Row Prisoner Wins Stay in Case Challenging Secrecy, Undue Suffering in US Executions


    The U.S. Supreme Court has stayed the execution of a Missouri death row prisoner who was set to become the first to be executed since Oklahoma’s botched killing last month. Russell Bucklew’s attorneys asked for a stay because he suffers from a medical condition they say could cause him undue suffering, a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibiting "cruel and unusual punishments." Bucklew won an initial stay on Tuesday, and the Supreme Court followed up on Wednesday with another ruling halting the execution and sending the case back to a federal appeals court. The court’s ruling marked a shift from a pattern of rejecting similar cases, suggesting justices may be concerned about the secretive and unregulated compounding pharmacies that provide the lethal injection drugs states like Missouri refuse to disclose. We are joined by Cheryl Pilate, one of Bucklew’s lead attorneys.

  • Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: Dave Zirin on the People’s Revolt Challenging 2014 World Cup


    In his new book, "Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy," sportswriter Dave Zirin tackles the growing unrest in Brazil in the lead-up to one of sport’s biggest spectacles. Thousands of police officers have joined bus drivers for day two of a massive strike in São Paulo, just weeks before the World Cup is set to begin. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 people have occupied a lot next to one of the arenas that will host the World Cup’s opening match. They call their protest "The People’s Cup" and are opposing the nearly half a billion dollars spent on the stadium, even as their communities lack adequate hospitals and schools. Demonstrations throughout the country have called attention to similar concerns. Zirin joins us to discuss the protests rocking Brazil, as well as the biggest sporting controversy in the United States — the NBA’s attempt to oust owner Donald Sterling over his racist comments about African Americans. Zirin is a sports columnist for The Nation magazine and host of Edge of Sports Radio on SiriusXM.

  • After Latest Coup in Thailand, Will U.S. Rethink Military Ties to Longtime Asian Ally?


    Thailand’s military has taken control of the country’s government days after imposing martial law. The head of the Thai army says the coup is necessary to restore order after six months of political turmoil between the government and opposition protesters. Protesters in Bangkok had blocked elections and called for the ouster of a caretaker government installed after the court removed Thailand’s prime minister earlier this month. Thailand’s army chief made the coup announcement in a television address shortly after convening a meeting with political parties, lawmakers and other key figures. This marks Thailand’s first coup since 2006, which led to more than a year of military rule. We are joined by John Sifton, Asia advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

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    Juan González on How Puerto Rico’s Economic "Death Spiral" is Tied to Legacy of Colonialism
    Could Puerto Rico become America’s Greece? That’s a question many are asking as the island faces a devastating financial crisis and a rapidly crumbling healthcare system. Puerto Rico owes $72 billion in debt. $355 million in debt payments are due December 1, but it increasingly looks like the U.S. territory may default on at least some of the debt. Congress has so far failed to act on an Obama administration proposal that includes extending bankruptcy protection to Puerto Rico and allocating more equitable Medicaid and Medicare...


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