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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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Actions were held in hundreds of cities worldwide Tuesday to protest the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which would carry crude from the Bakken oilfields of North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois. The project has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, representatives of more than 200 Indigenous nations from across the Americas, as well as thousands of non-Native allies—all fearing a pipeline spill could contaminate the Missouri River, the drinking source for millions. On Tuesday, protesters rallied from Vermont to California. Dozens were arrested across the country. In Mandan, North Dakota, at least 25 people were arrested as hundreds blockaded a highway and access to one of the pipeline company’s construction yards. Massive rallies were held in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in Washington, D.C., where Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders spoke.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “The idea that at this moment in history, when the scientific community is crystal clear that we need to transform our energy system, that at this moment we have the fossil fuel industry pushing for more pipelines, for more dependency on fossil fuel, is totally insane.”
Many of Tuesday’s actions targeted the offices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has so far refused to grant Energy Transfer Partners the final permit to drill underneath the Missouri River. In a joint statement by the Army and the Interior Department released Monday, the Army announced, “The Army has determined that additional discussion and analysis are warranted in light of the history of the Great Sioux Nation’s dispossessions of lands.” This is Army veteran Nicole Goodwin.
Nicole Goodwin: “Today, six members of Iraq Veterans Against the War went to office of the Army Corps of Engineers in New York City asking them to stand down and stand with Standing Rock. Water is life. And the fact that this is happening to the Sioux people and other indigenous peoples around the world is a tragedy. And when will it end? It must be stopped.”
As actions against the Dakota Access pipeline swept the country and world Tuesday, Energy Transfer Partners filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., seeking to “end the Administration’s political interference in the Dakota Access Pipeline review process.” In the court documents, Energy Transfer Partners said the delays to the pipeline’s completion have already cost nearly $100 million and that “further delay in the consideration of this case would add millions of dollars more each month in costs which cannot be recovered.” We’ll have more on the Dakota Access pipeline later in the broadcast.
Meanwhile, in Olympia, Washington, protesters have set up an ongoing encampment called Olympia Stand to blockade trains carrying fracking materials from the Port of Olympia to the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota. The materials being transported by these trains are necessary to extract North Dakota’s fracked oil, which is then slated to be transported to refineries through the contested Dakota Access pipeline. The group Olympia Stand says the blockade is in solidarity with the resistance at Standing Rock.
A new report by Canadian environmental groups says annual government subsidies of $3.3 billion to oil and gas companies undermine Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plans to impose a price on carbon dioxide emissions by 2018. Oil Change International said, “This system is like taxing consumers when they buy cigarettes while giving massive tax breaks to tobacco companies that encourage them to produce more cigarettes. It doesn’t make sense.”
Donald Trump’s transition team is reportedly in crisis following the firing of former Michigan Congressmember Mike Rogers, who had been handling the team’s national security affairs. Lobbyist Matthew Freedman was also fired from the team. This comes after another shake-up last week, when Trump fired New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as head of the transition team and replaced him with Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Sources told The New York Times that the firings have been orchestrated by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, whose father, Charles Kushner, was sent to prison by Christie, when Christie was a New Jersey’s top prosecutor. The New York Times is also reporting world leaders are struggling to reach Donald Trump and are simply calling Trump Tower in efforts to reach him. The Times reports that two of the first two calls Trump took following Tuesday’s election were with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Democrats are calling on Donald Trump to fire Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist. Bannon is the head of the far right-wing Breitbart Media, which has been accused of being a haven for white nationalists. This is Nevada Senator Harry Reid speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Sen. Harry Reid: “By placing a champion of white supremacists a step away from the Oval Office, what message is Trump sending to the young girl who woke up Wednesday morning in Rhode Island afraid to be a woman of color in America? It’s not a message of healing. If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon. Rescind it. Don’t do it. Think about this. Don’t do it.”
House Republicans donned red “Make America Great Again” hats Tuesday on Capitol Hill as they announced Wisconsin Congressmember Paul Ryan would remain House speaker. His renomination was unanimous, despite fears he would be ousted for not more fully supporting Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Ryan never unendorsed Trump, but did say he wouldn’t campaign for him, following the surfacing of a 2005 video in which Trump openly brags about sexually assaulting women.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has said he will not work with the Department of Homeland Security to carry out President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed mass deportation policies. In a “60 Minutes” interview aired Sunday, Trump vowed to deport up to 3 million people. In response, Chief Charlie Beck said, “If the federal government takes a more aggressive role on deportation, then they’ll have to do that on their own.” Trump’s recent promise to deport up to 3 million people comes after President Obama’s administration has already deported more than 2.5 million people between 2009 and 2015—more than any other administration in U.S. history.
In New York City, hundreds of residents have successfully organized to drop Trump’s name from three apartment buildings on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. His name, which is currently spelled out in big gold letters on the buildings, will be removed next week, after hundreds of tenants signed on to a “Dump the Trump name” petition. The buildings are owned by Equity Residential, but Trump had previously been involved financially in the buildings.
Physicians for Human Rights says at least four separate hospitals in Syria have been bombed since Sunday. The group says the airstrikes across northern Syria were carried out by either Russian or Syrian government warplanes. This comes as the Syrian government has launched a new bombing campaign against rebel-held eastern Aleppo, and Russian troops have announced a new offensive against Syrian rebels.
Imprisoned Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning is petitioning President Obama to grant her clemency before he leaves office. Manning is serving a 35-year sentence in the disciplinary barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, after being convicted of passing hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks. She has been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement and for years was denied gender-affirming surgery.
And in Denver, Colorado, a jury has ruled not guilty in the retrial of Clarence Moses-EL, an African-American man who was convicted of rape in 1987 after a woman said she dreamed he was the man who raped and beat her in the dark. Moses-EL has always maintained his innocence. In 2012, another man confessed to the attack. Moses-EL was freed in 2015, after more than 28 years in prison. This fall, prosecutors decided to retry Moses-EL, despite the other man’s confession. On Monday, a jury found him not guilty. This is Moses-EL speaking on Democracy Now! about seeing his grandchildren for the very first time, after he was released from prison last year.
Clarence Moses-EL: “When I was arrested for this case in 1987, my youngest grandson, that I believe the camera showed him the other day when I came out, Arell was the size and age of my son Anthony. He was three, going on four. So, to see my grandchildren, it was just overwhelming to know that my son had grown up into an adult, and now he have children. And to see those children, it was—it was just mind-boggling. I felt good about it, but it was just mind-boggling, because I couldn’t really believe it, that I got grandkids.”