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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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We begin today’s show in Alabama, where in a stunning upset Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in the controversial race to fill the Alabama Senate seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. With 100 percent of the vote tallied, Jones led Moore by nearly 21,000 votes, a margin of 1.5 percentage points. Jones addressed supporters in a victory speech Tuesday night.
Sen.-elect Doug Jones: “At the end of the day, this entire race has been about dignity and respect. This campaign has been about the rule of law. This campaign has been about common courtesy and decency, and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which ZIP code you live in, is going to get a fair shake in life.”
Jones’s victory marks the first time in 25 years that a Democrat has won a U.S. Senate race in Alabama. Tuesday’s special election was highly controversial, pitting Doug Jones against Roy Moore—an accused pedophile with a long history of racism, sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia. Roy Moore has so far refused to concede the race, and on Tuesday night called for a recount. But President Donald Trump, who had repeatedly endorsed Roy Moore, did acknowledge Moore’s defeat, tweeting: “Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!”
Tuesday’s vote was highly divided by race and gender, with African-American voters, particularly women, largely responsible for defeating Roy Moore. Overall, 96 percent of African-American voters voted for Doug Jones, with a staggering 98 percent of all black women voters voting for Jones. In contrast, nearly 70 percent of white voters voted for Roy Moore. A full 63 percent of white women voted for Moore, despite Moore being accused by multiple women of sexually harassing or assaulting them when they were teenagers. Democratic strategist Symone Sanders, who served as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s press secretary during his presidential campaign, said, “Doug Jones would not have won today without the turnout we saw from African-American voters. … Black women have been absolutely clear in their support for Democratic policies and Democratic candidates. It’s high time for Democrats to invest in that effort.” Doug Jones’s victory means the Republicans’ majority in the Senate will narrow to 51-49.
We’ll have more on the Alabama special election after headlines.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has fired back at President Trump, after he used sexist language to attack her on Twitter. The feud began when Senator Gillibrand became the fifth senator to call for President Trump’s resignation over multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault. In response, Trump attacked Gillibrand—the only female senator of the five—tweeting, “Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office 'begging' for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!” On Tuesday, Gillibrand fired back, saying Trump’s attack was sexist.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: “It was a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice, and I will not be silenced on this issue. Neither will the women who stood up to the president yesterday, and neither will the millions of women who have been marching since the Women’s March to stand up against policies they do not agree with.”
President Trump has signed a massive, $700 billion military spending bill—by far the largest military budget in the world. The spending bill won’t go into effect, however, unless Congress rolls back 2011 legislation that caps federal spending, including by the military. This is Trump speaking Tuesday.
President Donald Trump: “Finally, the defense bill authorizes major investments in our military’s greatest weapon of all: its warriors. The NDAA increases the size of the American armed forces for the first time in seven years, and it provides our military servicemembers with their largest pay increase in eight years. Now Congress must finish the job by eliminating the defense sequester and passing a clean appropriations bill. I think it’s going to happen. We need our military. It’s got to be perfecto.”
According to the National Priorities Project, U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the world’s next seven largest military budgets combined.
Palestinians are continuing to protest President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the U.S. Embassy there. On Tuesday, Palestinian protesters in Ramallah were injured by Israeli soldiers, who attacked the protesters with tear gas. Meanwhile, an image has gone viral of a beaten and blindfolded young Palestinian protester being arrested by a dozen heavily armed Israeli soldiers. The 16-year-old boy, Fawzi al-Junaidi, is slated to appear in front of an Israeli military court today on charges of throwing stones. Israeli soldiers have killed at least four Palestinian protesters and wounded about 700 protesters since President Trump’s announcement. This is longtime Palestinian politician Talab al-Sana speaking Tuesday at a protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Talab al-Sana: “We are here in the front of Israeli United States Embassy to say that the Trump declaration that Jerusalem belong for Israel unacceptable. This makes obstacles in the peace process, and he has no right to declare that Jerusalem belongs to Israel. Jerusalem is an issue for negotiation between Palestinians and Israel.”
In Ethiopia, there are reports the government has blocked access to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms in the wake of a military crackdown against protests in the Oromia region. Oromo authorities and local news reports say between six and 15 people were killed by security forces on Monday in the Oromia region and that a dozen more were injured. Since 2015, the Oromo people been staging widespread anti-government protests, which began as resistance to the government’s plan to privatize a forest but have since grown into a nationwide campaign against human rights abuses by the Ethiopian government.
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has won congressional approval to extend martial law in the southern Mindanao region until the end of 2018. Duterte claims the martial law is necessary to fight against militants aligned with ISIS. Human rights activists are concerned Duterte may try to extend martial law nationwide, as part of his increasingly authoritarian and bloody presidency.
Protests continue over the Federal Communications Commission plan to dismantle landmark regulations that ensure equal access to the internet. The FCC is slated to vote on the measure on Thursday, December 14. The measure would roll back “net neutrality” rules requiring internet service providers treat web content equally. On Monday, more than 20 pioneers of the internet—including World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee—published an open letter that slammed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal. The open letter, entitled “You Don’t Understand How the Internet Works,” calls on the FCC to keep the internet open. We’ll have more on the FCC vote later in the broadcast.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets Tuesday in Buenos Aires to protest the meeting of the World Trade Organization, or the WTO. This is a member of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Nora Cortiñas.
Nora Cortiñas: “We don’t want the World Trade Organization. We don’t want to lose our sovereignty. We want to be a free people, with our own determination. We don’t want policies of hunger or unemployment or the handing over of sovereignty to be imposed on us.”
In France, dozens of world leaders met Tuesday for a one-day climate change conference, held on the second anniversary of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. Ahead of the meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron said President Trump was not invited, as a result of his move to pull the U.S. out of the Paris deal. At Tuesday’s meeting, the World Bank announced it will “no longer finance upstream oil and gas after 2019.” Environmental groups heralded the announcement, with the group Oil Change International saying, “It is hard to overstate the significance of this historic announcement by the World Bank.”
And in Michigan, residents are demanding answers after police in Grand Rapids handcuffed and detained an 11-year-old African-American girl at gunpoint last week. The interaction began after the police arrived at the girl’s home, where they were searching for her 42-year-old aunt, who is white. But when they didn’t find the 42-year-old white woman, they instead handcuffed and detained the 11-year-old black girl, fifth-grader Honestie Hodges, as well as her mother and another relative, both of whom are also black. Honestie Hodges’s mother says her daughter was traumatized by the interaction.