Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • Meet the Navajo Activist Who Got the Washington Redskins’ Trademark Revoked: Amanda Blackhorse


    The growing movement to change the name of the Washington Redskins football team has scored a surprising victory. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the team’s trademark registration after concluding its name and logo are disparaging to Native Americans. The decision does not force the team to change its name, but it could make it more difficult to legally guard the name and logo from use by third parties. The team can reportedly keep the trademark while they appeal. But Native Americans and other critics of the Redskins’ brand have hailed the ruling as the latest sign team owner Dan Snyder will inevitably be forced to drop it. We are joined by two guests: Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo activist and plaintiff in the case, and sportswriter Dave Zirin.

  • "A Neo-Liberal Trojan Horse": Dave Zirin on Brazil’s Mass Protests Against World Cup Displacement


    Thousands of people marched in Brazil on Wednesday in one of the largest protests of the 2014 World Cup. Members of the Homeless Workers Movement blocked a major freeway in São Paulo to protest massive spending on the tournament and to call for more affordable housing. In another World Cup city, Porto Alegre, police fired tear gas and stun grenades at demonstrators protesting against the international soccer body, FIFA. The peaceful protesters were vastly outnumbered by an army of riot police in military gear. Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden was in Brazil to watch the United States defeat Ghana 2-1 — and to try to mend ties with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff after revelations of National Security Agency’s spying on Brazil, including on Rousseff’s personal cellphone. All of this comes as Brazil looks ahead to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, with another round of mass displacement underway. We go to Rio’s Maracanã Stadium to speak with sportswriter Dave Zirin, author of "Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy."

    Photo Credit: Reuters

  • As Iraq Teeters, Will U.S. and Iran Join Forces to Shore Up Embattled Shiite Gov’t?


    As Iraq asks the United States for military strikes against Sunni militants, we look at the role of Iran in the growing crisis. On Wednesday, the Iraqi government formally asked the United States to carry out airstrikes on the militants, who have seized a large swath of the country over the past week. According to a report in The Independent of London, the Obama administration has told senior Iraqi officials that it would intervene militarily only if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki left office. Maliki, who is Shiite, has been widely criticized for deepening Iraq’s sectarian divide. Many analysts say the crisis in Iraq and Syria is developing into a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with Maliki’s government accusing the Saudis of backing the Sunni militants. On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia issued an apparent warning to Iran by saying outside powers should not intervene in the conflict. This came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran "will not hesitate" to protect Shiite holy sites in Iraq threatened by Sunni militants. The Obama administration has said it remains opens to cooperation with Iran on stopping the militants’ advance, an issue briefly discussed between the two sides on the sidelines of nuclear talks in Vienna. Will and Tehran work together to shore up the Iraqi regime? We are joined by Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council.

  • Argentina Alleges Extortion After Supreme Court Sides with Vulture Funds Preying on Sovereign Debt


    We look at a case that is being called the "trial of the century" in how poor countries repay sovereign debt. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Argentina over its $1.5 billion debt in a ruling critics say validates predatory behavior by so-called "vulture funds." The case involves hedge funds that bought up Argentina’s debt at bargain rates after its financial crisis more than a decade ago. After Argentina defaulted on its debts, the vast majority of its creditors agreed to slash the value of their holdings. But NML Capital and other firms refused to accept the deal, instead seeking full repayment. Monday’s ruling leaves in place a lower court decision ordering Argentina to pay the companies. Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has called the firms’ actions "extortion." We are joined by Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network.

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