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This week, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 22nd birthday. Since our first show in February 1996, our daily news hour has brought you fearless journalism and hard-hitting news you can trust--all without ads or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. In fact, if everyone reading this gave just $4, it would cover our operating expenses for the whole year. Right now, a generous donor will TRIPLE every donation, meaning your gift today will go three times as far. Pretty amazing, right? Please do your part. Take a moment to give right now for our 22nd birthday.
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Today is Election Day, and across the country voters are preparing to go to the polls to cast their ballots for president, as well as for senators, congressmembers, governors, attorneys general, local sheriffs and a slew of other elected officials, as well as over 160 ballot initiatives. On Monday, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump finished off their final day of campaigning. Trump held rallies in Sarasota, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Manchester, New Hampshire; and, finally, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he railed against the outsourcing of U.S. factories.
Donald Trump: “America has lost—listen to this—70,000 factories—70,000, not 700, not 7,000—70,000 factories, since China entered the World Trade Organization, another Bill and Hillary-backed disaster. We are living through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world. There’s never been anything like this. Our jobs are being stolen like candy from a baby. Not gonna happen anymore, folks. There are going to be consequences.”
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, held two rallies in Pennsylvania Monday, a huge rally in Philadelphia and another in Pittsburgh, as well as rallies in Allendale, Michigan, and in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she drew a contrast between herself and Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton: “It is a choice between division or unity, between strong, steady leadership or a loose cannon, who could risk everything. It’s a choice between an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. And it—it is a choice that really goes to the heart of who we are as Americans. What I saw before I came in and what I see now is a sense of potential, of joy. There is no reason, my friends, why America’s best days are not ahead of us, if we reach for them together.”
That’s Hillary Clinton at her final campaign event Monday in Raleigh, North Carolina. As voters head to the polls, Clinton has already won a tiny hamlet in New Hampshire—Dixville Notch, where the voting station opened at midnight and closed a half-hour later, after all eight votes were cast: four for Hillary Clinton, two for Donald Trump, one for Gary Johnson and a write-in vote for Mitt Romney.
The Democratic Party is also hoping to regain control of the Senate today, where a third of all senators are up for re-election. The Republicans currently hold control of the Senate with 54 seats to the Democrats’ 46 seats. Across the country, there are a number of tight Senate races, including in New Hampshire, where Democrat Maggie Hassan is challenging Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte; in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Katie McGinty is challenging Republican incumbent Pat Toomey; and in Wisconsin, where Democrat Russ Feingold is challenging Republican incumbent Ron Johnson. If a surge of anti-Trump sentiment sweeps the down ballots, it’s also possible, although unlikely, Democrats could regain control of the Republican-led House. There are also a number of progressive candidates running with the support of Bernie Sanders’s organization Our Revolution, including Zephyr Teachout, who is running for New York’s 19th Congressional District; Chase Iron Eyes, who is running for North Dakota’s at-large congressional district; and Pramila Jayapal, who is running for Washington’s 7th Congressional District. Tune in tonight for a special 5-hour Election Day broadcast, starting at 7 p.m. Eastern.
In more election news, Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C., against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, alleging illegal coordination with their super PACs. These so-called dark money groups are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of funds for candidates, but they are not allowed to coordinate directly with the campaigns. In the complaint, however, Stein argues both Clinton and Trump have illegally coordinated with a handful of their super PACs.
Hillary Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, has said he supports the possible rerouting of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, as well as members of more than 200 other indigenous tribes and nations from across the Americas and their non-Native allies. Last week, President Obama said the Army Corps was considering plans to reroute the pipeline. It’s already been rerouted at least once, away from Bismarck and Mandan, amid objections from the area’s mostly white residents over the possibility of water contamination. This is Senator Tim Kaine in an interview with Fusion.
Alicia Menendez: “Senator Sanders has said the Dakota Access pipeline must be stopped. Do you agree or disagree?”
Sen. Tim Kaine: “Well, certainly, the questions raised about the route are important. President Obama, a month or so back—might have been six weeks ago—said, 'Look, we need to do a set of consultations between the U.S. government and the sovereign tribal governments about projects like this. And then, in recent days, what he said is we ought to be able to find a route that solves some of these problems. And I'm optimistic about that, too. I know the administration is working very hard on it. They’ve made—”
Alicia Menendez: “So you’d be in support of rerouting it?”
Sen. Tim Kaine: “Well, look, they’ve already rerouted it once. It was routed to be near Bismarck, and then that route was changed. So if it’s changed once—if it’s an important enough project, you ought to be able to find a route that works. And so, what the Obama administration has done by saying, 'Hey, let's look at route alternatives,’ I think is the right thing to do.”
The proposal to reroute the Dakota Access comes as the billion-dollar project, spearheaded by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, is facing increasing pressure from the banks funding its construction. On Sunday, the Norwegian bank DNB announced it’s considering withdrawing its funding amid concerns about human rights violations against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. DNB, which is Norway’s largest bank, is responsible for financing up to 10 percent of pipeline. This comes as Citigroup told The New York Times it also has raised concerns about the project with Energy Transfer Partners, although the bank has not yet said whether it will withdraw its funding. Citigroup is playing a major role as both a financer of the project and the loan agent. Lindsey Allen of the Rainforest Action Network said, “Citibank’s leading role in financing the pipeline makes it complicit in gross violations of Indigenous and human rights.”
In Iraq, the U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and government militias are continuing the campaign to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS. The Iraqi military says it discovered a mass grave with as many as 100 decapitated bodies during its advance into the town of Hamam al-Alil to the south of Mosul. This comes as residents of al-Qayyarah, a town about 40 miles south of Mosul, report being sickened by the poisonous smoke from continuously burning oil well fires. The Iraqi military says ISIS militants lit the oil wells on fire in August while retreating from the town. The fires continue to burn three months later.
In Brazil, the Landless Workers Movement, known as the MST, is facing increasing repression, including the detention of at least 10 organizers. On November 4, state police raided MST’s National School in São Paulo, firing live ammunition and detaining two MST members, including a 64-year-old librarian whose rib was fractured during the raid. Police also recently raided another MST camp in Paraná and detained eight organizers. Joaquin Piñero of MST says the repression against the movement has worsened under Michel Temer’s new government, following the impeachment and ouster of elected President Dilma Rousseff.
Joaquin Piñero: “All of this is happening in the context of persecution. We’re struggling against the coup and for democracy in our country. And today there is a constantly intensifying process of repression against the MST.”
In India, the environmental minister has called for an emergency meeting as the capital New Delhi is engulfed in thick hazardous smog. It’s the worst air pollution New Delhi has seen in 20 years. This is environmentalist Vimlendu Jha.
Vimlendu Jha: “We have polluted ourselves to an extent where the air is completely toxic. It’s beyond measurable limits. It’s crossed all limits of human imagination, of the imagination of our machines that were supposed to really calculate how polluted our air is.”
In Yemen, more than half of all health facilities have either closed or are only partially functioning amid the ongoing conflict. A new report by the World Health Organization also found that 40 percent of the surveyed districts in Yemen had only two doctors, if not fewer.
Dozens of historians and researchers are accusing Volkswagen of trying to cover up the “dark pages” of its history in Nazi Germany, following the announcement Volkswagen’s longtime historian Manfred Grieger was leaving the company. Grieger has led Volkwagen’s efforts to research and reveal the company’s actions during World War II, when Volkswagen forced concentration camp prisoners to work in the auto factories. Volkswagen has denied Grieger was dismissed. This comes as Volkswagen has announced another historian, Christopher Kopper, has been commissioned to research the company’s actions in Brazil during the military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985, following a lawsuit alleging 12 Volkswagen workers critical of the dictatorship were tortured in a VW factory near São Paulo.
In the Philippines, the Supreme Court has ruled 9 to 5 that former dictator Ferdinand Marcos will receive a “hero’s burial,” despite a three-decade struggle to stop the dictator’s remains from being reburied in Manila’s Heroes’ Cemetery. This is Neri Colmenares, who survived the period of Marcos’s rule under martial law from 1972 to 1981.
Neri Colmenares: “It’s really disheartening that today, history has changed, history has lost its meaning. And it’s confusing and frustrating that after so many decisions against Marcos, the Supreme Court turned itself around. But we will seek a motion of reconsideration.”
And in Rochester, New York, people have begun covering suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s tombstone with “I Voted” stickers to commemorate the 110th anniversary of her death in March 1906, 14 years before women won the right to vote in the United States. The New York cemetery has extended its hours until 9 p.m. today to give more people time to visit her gravesite.