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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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The fourth Republican presidential debate took place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, last night with a smaller field of candidates on stage. Eight out of the 14 candidates took part in the main event after low poll numbers forced New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to the so-called undercard debate. The first question of the night focused on protesters who massed outside the debate venue demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Florida Senator Marco Rubio all rejected a minimum wage increase. Trump said wages are already too high.
Donald Trump: “Taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard, and they have to get into that upper stratum.”
Trump’s remarks came as fast-food workers walked off the job in hundreds of cities across the country, demanding a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights. Here in New York, restaurant server Gabrielle Hatcher said the movement has broad support.
Gabrielle Hatcher: “This is support for a lot of different things. I know that One Fair Wage is here. I know that Black Lives Matter is here. And I think some people are wondering why they’re here, but racial justice and economic justice are just two sides of the same coin. As a woman of color, I’ve been passed up for promotions for higher-paying positions because I’m a woman of color. I’ve been turned away from fine dining restaurants because they only hire white males as servers. So they are one in the same. And there’s no room for growth right now, and I think that that needs to change and that it can change.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced he will increase the minimum wage for state workers to $15 an hour, making New York the first state to do so.
Workers who serve food at the U.S. Capitol also took part in Tuesday’s nationwide strike. They were joined by Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who echoed their call for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Hillary Clinton has called for raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has wrapped up a visit to Washington. A day after meeting President Obama at the White House, Netanyahu sat down with lawmakers and addressed the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank. His appearance comes as leaked emails reported by The Intercept show CAP has censored its own writers on the topic of Israel. Netanyahu has reportedly requested a record $5 billion in annual U.S. military aid, an increase over the $3 billion the U.S. already provides. Ahead of Netanyahu’s visit, Israel moved to greenlight the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank with 2,200 new housing units. The move recalled a similar act by Netanyahu just before a visit to Israel by Vice President Joe Biden in 2010. The settlements are considered illegal under international law. Addressing the Jewish Federation of North America, Netanyahu praised his talks with Obama, saying, “Israel has no better friend than America.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I had a very good meeting with President Obama at the White House, and I deeply appreciate his commitment to bolster Israel’s security at the time when the Middle East is becoming more dangerous than ever. And I also want to say that we are sharing so many things. The United States is giving indispensable help to Israel, indispensable, but Israel is returning that assistance almost on a daily basis in intelligence and in many other things.”
Two young Palestinian cousins have been arrested and accused of stabbing and wounding an Israeli security guard in East Jerusalem. The guard shot and wounded the younger boy, who was 12. In separate incidents Tuesday, Israeli forces killed two other Palestinians accused of attempting knife attacks around Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports Israeli forces used live fire during a raid on the Qalandiya refugee camp near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah today, wounding 13 Palestinians.
President Obama is expected to sign a sweeping military spending bill, even though it restricts prisoner transfers from Guantánamo. The National Defense Authorization Act passed by the Senate Tuesday extends a ban on moving Guantánamo prisoners to the United States and sets new restrictions on transfers to other countries, including Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said Obama will likely sign the measure anyway.
Josh Earnest: “Our view of those specific provisions have not changed. And what the president does believe, though, is that there are a number of provisions in the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that are important to running and protecting the country. And so that’s why I would expect that you would see the president sign the NDAA when it comes to his desk, whenever it comes to his desk. But that certainly does not reflect a change in our position or the intensity of our position about the need to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay and the need for Congress to actually cooperate with us in doing so.”
This week, the Obama administration is expected to unveil its long-awaited plan to close Guantánamo.
An American contractor detained by Houthi rebels in Yemen is dead. The State Department confirmed the death of John Hamen Tuesday but did not say how he had died.
In a defeat for austerity in Portugal, an alliance of left-wing parties has toppled the center-right government less than two weeks after it came to power. Lawmakers from the Socialist, Communist and Left Bloc parties joined together to vote down the government’s austerity program, forcing the government to automatically resign. The Socialist Party leader is now expected to become prime minister.
The German airline Lufthansa has cancelled about a third of its flights after a German court rejected a bid to stop a strike of cabin crew workers. The strike began Friday over pay and retirement provisions.
And the University of Missouri has named its first interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity, after protests over racism on campus forced two top officials to resign. President Tim Wolfe and Columbia campus Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin both announced they would step down after students of color on the football team joined the mounting protests. After the resignations, graduate students rallied Tuesday, vowing to keep up the fight for racial justice on campus.
Meanwhile, an assistant communications professor has apologized and resigned her courtesy appointment at the University of Missouri journalism school after a video went viral showing her calling for “some muscle” to help remove a journalist from a protest.
Mark Schierbecker: “I’m media. Can I talk to you?”
Melissa Click: “No, you need to get out! You need to get out!”
Mark Schierbecker: “No, I don’t.”
Melissa Click: “You need to get out.”
Mark Schierbecker: “I actually don’t.”
Melissa Click: “All right. [Turns to the crowd and shouts] Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here!”
Melissa Click apologized for the incident, saying, “I regret the language and strategies I used.”