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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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In Washington, D.C., police have arrested about 85 more protesters taking part in the “Democracy Sping” actions against corporate lobbying and big money in politics. This comes after more than 400 people were arrested after a sit-in at the Capitol on Monday. The corporate networks widely ignored Monday’s arrests. According to a tally by The Intercept, CNN did not devote any coverage to the protests, MSNBC mentioned them for 12 seconds, and Fox News discussed them for 17 seconds. CNN later posted a short item online. Click here to see our interview with Democracy Spring organizer Kai Newkirk.
Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers on the East Coast have walked off the job, marking one of the biggest U.S. strikes in years. The workers have been without a contract since August amid attempts by Verizon to cut pensions and ease the outsourcing of work. Pickets are expected at hundreds of Verizon sites from Massachusetts to Virginia. Verizon says it’s trained thousands of non-union employees to fill in.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has issued an executive order regarding the state’s new anti-LGBT law. The law bars transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, and eliminates local ordinances against anti-LGBT discrimination. The law has sparked wide protest. Bruce Springsteen canceled a concert in North Carolina, and PayPal and Deutsche Bank said they would scrap plans for expansions in the state. On Tuesday, McCrory said he would expand protections for LGBT state employees and seek legislation to restore the right to sue for discrimination.
Gov. Pat McCrory: “You know, after listening to people’s feedback during the past several weeks on this issue, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misinformation, misinterpretation, confusion, passion and, frankly, selective outrage and hypocrisy, especially against the great state of North Carolina. But based on this feedback, I am taking action to affirm the state’s commitment to privacy and equality.”
The ACLU of North Carolina called McCrory’s order “a poor effort to save face after his sweeping attacks on the LGBT community.”
President Obama meets with top aides at CIA headquarters today to discuss the U.S. campaign against ISIS. This comes as The New York Times reports Pentagon officials say U.S. airstrikes have killed 25,000 ISIS fighters. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports the CIA and its regional partners have drawn up a so-called Plan B for Syria to supply rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with more-powerful weapons if a six-week truce collapses. Peace talks aimed at ending the five-year Syrian conflict are set to resume in Geneva today.
An Algerian-American man arrested in a controversial plot that drew accusations of entrapment has attempted suicide after detailing abuse behind bars. Ahmed Ferhani pleaded guilty in 2012 to terrorism-related charges for discussing attacks on New York City synagogues with an undercover officer. But The Nation magazine reports the case against him was flimsy; Ferhani had a history of mental illness, and days before his arrest he told the officer he wanted to flip the guns they were going to buy for a profit. Ferhani wrote a series of letters, including some addressed to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, detailing a litany of threats, denial of food and water, and targeted violence while behind bars at Great Meadow Correctional Facility and Attica. He wrote to Lynch: “If taking my own life is the only way to expose the evils that are practiced daily by corrections officers then I will be glad to do it.” Ferhani is now in a medically induced coma after he attempted to hang himself at Attica last week.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has ruled out accepting the Republican presidential nomination in the event of a contested convention in July. Rumors have centered on Ryan as a possible alternative if neither Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich crosses the threshold of 1,237 delegates. But Ryan said he is not interested.
House Speaker Paul Ryan: “If no candidate has a majority on the first ballot, I believe that you should only choose from a person who has actually participated in the primary. Count me out. I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee for our party to be the president, you should actually run for it. I chose not to do this, therefore I should not be considered, period, end of story.”
New results from Colorado show Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won one more delegate than initially reported. The Denver Post reports the Colorado Democratic Party admitted this week that it misreported the March 1 caucus results from 10 precinct locations. While Hillary Clinton’s campaign discussed the error with state party officials last week, the Sanders campaign apparently didn’t find out until Monday, when they were informed by The Denver Post. Clinton had been projected to win the majority of Colorado’s 78 delegates because of her support from unelected superdelegates. But the corrected tally means the worst Sanders could do is a tie; if he wins one superdelegate, he could win the Colorado delegation. This comes as Sanders and Clinton prepare to face off at a debate in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday.
Georgia has executed an African-American man despite reports of possible racial bias in the case. Kenneth Fults pleaded guilty in 1997 to killing his 19-year-old neighbor, Cathy Bounds. His lawyers sought clemency for Fults, saying he had an intellectual disability. Attorneys said his trial lawyer failed to tell jurors about his disability and slept through parts of the sentencing. One of the jurors who voted for Fults’ execution later used a racial slur to describe him. The juror told an investigator, “Once he pled guilty, I knew I would vote for the death penalty because that’s what that (N-word) deserved.” Fults’ clemency petition was rejected, and he died by lethal injection at 7:37 p.m. on Tuesday.
And the news channel Al Jazeera America has signed off for the last time. The U.S.-focused branch of the Qatar-based network launched in 2013 after Al Jazeera purchased Current TV from former Vice President Al Gore. About 700 people are losing their jobs. Anchors Richelle Carey and Antonio Mora said goodbye Tuesday night.
Antonio Mora: “From our first moments on the air, when Richelle and I welcomed you on August 20th of 2013, we’ve tried to bring you the stories that other news organizations don’t, and we hope we have lived up to our promise to be the voice of the voiceless and to speak truth to power.”
Richelle Carey: “To those of you who have supported us on air and online, we thank you for allowing us to tell your stories.”
Antonio Mora: “Good night and goodbye.”