On The Monitor this week:
- Last week Roy Moore won Senate runoff election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Moore is no stranger to controversy (among other things, he has said that homosexuality should be illegal, Muslims to not be allowed in Congress, and 9/11 was God’s punishment for Americans’ sins). We talk with Frederick Clarkson about the significance of Moore’s victory.
- The Spanish government violently responded to an independence referendum in Catalonia. Hundreds were injured or unable to vote. The result, despite (or because of the low turnout) was about 90 percent in favor of independence. Sebastiaan Faber explains how and why this happened.
More about this week’s guests:
Frederick Clarkson is senior fellow at Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank in Somerville, Massachusetts. He is also the author of the 2016 report “When Exemption is the Rule: The Religious Freedom Strategy of the Christian Right” and wrote the book Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy. You can also read some of his recent work here. Quote: “Roy Moore is the most openly theocratic politician in national life — and he has a good chance of being the next U.S. Senator from Alabama. The special election to fill the remainder of the term of Jeff Sessions, who was appointed as U.S. Attorney General by president Trump, will be held on Dec. 12. Moore is heavily favored to prevail over Democrat and former federal prosecutor Doug Jones. Moore favors criminalizing abortion and homosexuality. He does not respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, and the federal courts to enforce civil rights laws. His views hark back to the time of massive resistance to civil rights for African Americans, when opponents invoked the notions of nullification and interposition — which basically meant that states could ignore federal actions; including court orders they believed were inconsistent with the Constitution. Like the nullificationists of the last century, Moore does not view the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal courts as binding on the states. Particularly if they conflict with his idiosyncratic view of what God requires. Roy Moore epitomizes the contemporary politics of theocratic Christian dominionism in his attacks on separation of church and state and religious freedom. Moore was twice elected on a statewide ballot as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He has also been removed from office each time because he violated orders from a federal judge. The first time, he had installed a two-and-a-half-ton monument to the Ten Commandments in the foyer of the state courthouse. A federal judge ruled that this was an unambiguous violation of separation of church and state and ordered it removed. Moore refused. The second time, he sought to undermine a federal court order to state officials to honor the Supreme Court’s 2015 stand for marriage equality in the case of Obergefell v Hodges. Moore sought to direct state probate judges not to issue same sex marriage licenses, claiming that existing state bans on same sex marriage were still in force.”
Sebastiaan Faber is a professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College and author of several books, including Alcalá de Henares: Instituto Franklin de Estudios Norteamericanos; Anglo-American Hispanists and the Spanish Civil War: Hispanophilia, Commitment, and Discipline; Exile and Cultural Hegemony: Spanish Intellectuals in Mexico (1939-1975) and the forthcoming Memory Battles and the Spanish Civil War. He just co-wrote “Have Spain and Catalonia Reached a Point of No Return?” for The Nation. Quote: “While the repressive measures taken so far have certainly made a region-wide vote more difficult, the Catalans refuse to give up. In a nationally televised interview aired on Sept. 24, Catalan President Puigdemont vowed to go ahead with the referendum [this Sunday]. Meanwhile, the arrests of Sept. 20 have prompted massive, ongoing demonstrations in Barcelona and elsewhere.”
On The Monitor this week
- “The World is My Country” – an interview on the forthcoming documentary from director Arthur Kanegis
- On Scalia legacy and Rubio’s candidacy – an interview with Greg Palast
More about this week’s guests:
“The World is My Country”, the forthcoming documentary from director Arthur Kanegis, chronicles the origin and validity of the World Passport, a document issued by the World Service Authority (WSA) in Washington, D.C. An excerpt of the film includes a portion of a 2015 Beats By Dre interview with Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def), in which he expressed profound support for the World Passport. “My country is called Earth,” bey proclaims. “This whole thing belongs to everybody that’s on it.”
Since the detainment of Yasiin Bey by South African authorities, 2 days after being prevented to board a flight to Ethiopia to fulfill a performance obligation and attempting to use his World Passport in January, clarity, in terms of the validity of the World Passport has been in great demand. The documentary’s director, the WSA, and Bey’s attorneys have all been working to shed more light on the matter.
“We’re rushing to release this excerpt from our forthcoming documentary to set the record straight,” said director Arthur Kanegis. “This excerpt shows that the World Passport is a fundamental human rights document that has been issued by the World Service Authority (WSA) in Washington DC for more than 60 years. Visas have been stamped on it by 90% of the world’s nations.”
In the film, attorney David Gallup, President of WSA, talks about the bey case: “We immediately sent a legal statement to the government through his attorney explaining the legal validity and recognition by the government of South Africa,” Gallup says in the excerpt, “including copies of stamps from the government, the most recent one as you can see on our website here in the last few months.”
The film shows that South Africa has allowed World Passport holders entry into the country at least eleven times within the past few years, according to worldserivice.org. The site shows copies of visas from 183 countries. “People can apply for World Documents using the forms on www.worldservice.org” Gallup said, “or contact us at 202-638-2662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
“We hope that once South African officials see this film, they will not only honor Yasiin Bey’s World Passport, but also move to the forefront of recognizing this important human rights document,” said director Author Kanegis. “After all, Nelson Mandela himself said, “we are citizens of the world,” and South Africa’s constitution says, ‘everyone has the right to freedom of movement’ and ‘everyone has the right to leave the Republic.’”
Find out more about the film at www.futurewave.org
Greg Palast has been called the “most important investigative reporter of our time – up there with Woodward and Bernstein” (The Guardian). Palast has broken front-page stories for BBC Television Newsnight, The Guardian, Nation Magazine, Rolling Stone and Harper’s Magazine. Visit his website here: www.gregpalast.com
Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, Armed Madhouse , The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and the highly acclaimed Vultures’ Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.
His books have been translated into two dozen languages. KPFT LISTENERS can DOWNLOAD GREG’S COMIC BOOK FOR FREE: Steal Back Your Vote Comic Download
His brand new film of his documentary reports for BBC Newsnight and Democracy Now! is called Vultures and Vote Rustlers.
Palast is known for complex undercover investigations, spanning five continents, from the Arctic to the Amazon, from Caracas to California, using the skills he learned over two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud.
Articles under discussion on the show:
On The Monitor this week:
- Mae Ngai on Immigration Reform – how it happened before and how it can happen again
- Paul Paz y Miño on Chevron’s RICO Case – the star witness admits to lying and the case collapses
More about this week’s guests:
Mae M. Ngai, Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies, is a U.S. legal and political historian interested in questions of immigration, citizenship, and nationalism. She is author of the award winning Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (2004) and The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (2010). Ngai has written on immigration history and policy for the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Nation, and the Boston Review. Before becoming a historian she was a labor-union organizer and educator in New York City, working for District 65-UAW and the Consortium for Worker Education. She is now working on Yellow and Gold: The Chinese Mining Diaspora, 1848-1908, a study of Chinese gold miners and racial politics in the nineteenth-century California, the Australian colony of Victoria, and the South African Transvaal.
The Nation recently published her piece: “This Is How Immigration Reform Happened 50 Years Ago. It Can Happen Again
“When Johnson signed the Hart-Celler Act, he hailed it as a milestone for civil rights — and, in many ways, it was. The signal achievement of the act was to abolish the noxious quota system, in effect since 1924, which numerically restricted immigration and allocated visas for permanent residents (green cards) according to national origin and race. The quota structure favored immigration from Northern and Western Europe, restricted it from Eastern and Southern Europe, and excluded Asians altogether. The 1965 immigration act got rid of this blatantly racist system and replaced it with one based on individual qualifications, giving preference to those with skills and those with family members in the United States. To further make the system fair, it set a uniform cap on all countries at 7 percent of the annual total.
Moreover, for all its liberal intentions, Hart-Celler was decidedly illiberal in crucial respects: It imposed numerical limits on the countries of the Western Hemisphere, which previously had no such quotas. At the same time, it subjected all countries to the same maximum limit of 20,000 new admissions a year (when Congress raised the overall ceiling by 40 percent in 1990, the country cap went up to just 26,500). Treating Mexico and India ‘equally’ with, say, New Zealand and Belgium reflected the civil-rights era’s emphasis on abstract, formal equality. However, it also guaranteed that a significant portion of Mexican immigration would be unauthorized, because ongoing labor-market demands far exceeded legal avenues for entry.”
Paul Paz y Miño is the Director of Outreach & Online Strategy at AmazonWatch. Paul joined Amazon Watch in 2007. He has an MA in International Affairs from George Washington University. Since 1995, he has volunteered as Colombia Country Specialist for Amnesty International USA and was the Guatemala/Chiapas Program Director at the Seva Foundation for seven years. Paul has lived in Chiapas, Mexico and Quito, Ecuador, promoting human rights and community development and working directly with indigenous communities. Paul is also an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and served on the board of Peace Brigades International USA. Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulpaz
For details of the topic of this interview see Chevron’s Star Witness Admits to Lying in the Amazon Pollution Case:
“In March of last year, California-based oil giant Chevron hailed a sweeping victory in a two-decade long legal battle in the Ecuadorean Amazon. A New York federal judge, Lewis Kaplan, ruled that a $9.5 billion Lago Agrio judgment leveled against the company by the small Andean country’s highest court, was obtained by way of fraud and coercion.
In his decision, based on violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, the judge found that the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Steven Donziger, committed mail fraud, engaged in coercion, and paid bribes in order to win judgment against Texaco, which Chevron brought in 2001.
The case largely hung on Chevron’s star witness, Alberto Guerra, a former Ecuadorean judge who has admitted to receiving substantial amounts of money and other benefits to cooperate with Chevron. In New York, Guerra testified that he had struck a deal between the plaintiffs and the presiding judge, Nicolas Zambrano: Guerra would ghostwrite the verdict, Zambrano would sign it, and the two would share an alleged $500,000 in kickbacks from the plaintiffs.”
On The Monitor this week:
- Behind Obama’s Immigration Policy – an interview with David Bacon
- The case for a ban on fracking – an interview with Hugh MacMillan
More about this week’s guests:
David Bacon is author of The Right to Stay Home and three other books on immigration. He is a labor and immigrant rights activist, and part of the Dignity Campaign. He is an Award-winning photojournalist and author and has spent twenty years as a labor organizer. For the last two decades he has been a reporter, documentary photographer, and longtime radio host. He appears often on KPFA Radio. His previous books included The Children of NAFTA, Communities Without Borders, and Illegal People. He has been an associate editor at Pacific News Service and has written for TruthOut, The Nation, The Progressive, The American Prospect and The San Francisco Chronicle. As an immigrant rights activist, Bacon helped organize the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights and the Labor Immigrant Organizers Network.
“President Obama’s decision to delay lifting the threat of deportation from many people is a retreat that will result in more deportations, detentions and firings of people who need equality, legal status and human rights. In the name of protecting Democrats in the midterm election, his decision will instead hurt those families who have been some of his greatest supporters. It does nothing to move forward to solve the problems of migration. More people will come to the U.S. tomorrow, driven by poverty and repression, made worse by our pro-corporate trade agreements and foreign intervention. Beefing up enforcement simply criminalizes them, while the continuation of pro-business guest worker programs provides a blatant subsidy for corporations who want to keep wages down and unions weak. We need pro-immigrant and pro-worker immigration reform, not more delays, draconian enforcement and corporate labor schemes.”
You can follow him on twitter here
Hugh MacMillan is a senior researcher in the water program at Food & Water Watch. Prior to joining Food & Water Watch, he served one year as a legislative fellow and science advisor in the U.S. Senate and five years as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University. He has a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Last week was the People’s Climate March in New York and Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter published an article titled “To Save the Climate, We Need a Ban on Fracking” saying “Fracking affects not only the millions living within a mile of fracking sites who experience health problems, polluted water, earthquakes, explosions and declined property values, but it also affects billions globally who are affected by climate change.” The article goes on to say that “Despite what the oil and gas industry claim, there have now been over 150 studies on fracking and its impacts that raise concerns about the risks and dangers of fracking and highlight how little we know about its long-term effects on health and our limited freshwater supplies. It’s time for President Obama and other decision makers to look at the facts. It’s a matter of our survival.”
He is also the main author of The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking which states in part that the environmental, public health and socioeconomic impacts that stem from fracking amount to unacceptable risk, and that the harms are certain.
On The Monitor this week:
- The Obama Immigration Plan with Todd Miller
- Japan undoes its Pacifist Constitution with Tim Shorrock
More on this week’s guests and topics:
Todd Miller is the author of Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Homeland Security. His work has appeared in The New York Times, TomDispatch, Mother Jones, The Nation, and NACLA among other places. You can follow him on twitter @memomiller and view more of his work at toddwmiller.wordpress.com
Quote: “The border enforcement regime that is in place on the U.S. border with Mexico is anything but lax. It is the most massive concentration of agents and resources that we have ever seen in the history of the United States. Never before have there been so many walls, high-powered cameras and radar, implanted motion sensors, and drones. And never before has there been an incarceration and deportation apparatus attached to this that can imprison up to 34,000 people every day, and forcibly expel an average of 400,000 people a year from the country. This does not need another cent dedicated to it. The crisis of 52,000 unaccompanied Central American children arriving to our border is correctly a ‘humanitarian’ one, and they need to be treated like refugees, not criminals. A more long-term answer to this crisis requires a much more holistic debate — which includes an honest discussion of free trade and neoliberal economic policies in Central America, and the impacts of the U.S. sponsored drug war in the region.”
Background: AP reports: “Obama is resisting calls to visit the border during his two-day fundraising trip to Texas, where he arrives late Wednesday afternoon. Instead, Obama will hold a meeting hundreds of miles away in Dallas to discuss the crisis with faith leaders and Texas officials, including Republican Gov. Rick Perry.
Tim Shorrock is a Washington-based investigative journalist who grew up in Japan and South Korea. He is the author of SPIES FOR HIRE: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence,
Quote: “This has been pushed heavily by U.S. administrations of both parties since the 1950s. It’s been a carefully hidden but bipartisan policy in Washington to prod Japan to expand its military role in the U.S.-Japan security alliance. It means further exploitation by the U.S. military of the island of Okinawa, where the U.S. is expanding its Marine presence, and undercuts the will of the Japanese people, thousands of whom have been demonstrating against the changes in the peace constitution. That’s a tragedy, and President Obama should be ashamed for increasing rather than decreasing militarization in Asia.”
Background: Reuters reports: “Japan takes historic step from post-war pacifism, OKs fighting for allies.”
On The Monitor this week:
- Congo Peace Can Only Begin When U.S. Ally Rwanda “Ceases Interventions” An interview with Maurice Carney
Daily Telegraph report of Oct, 31: “Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo are close to defeat after the foreign ministers of both America and Britain called the president of neighboring Rwanda and urged him not to intervene to support them, The Daily Telegraph has learned. John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, and William Hague, the foreign secretary, telephoned Paul Kagame separately last Friday and told him to stay out of the conflict.”
- Missing from Immigration Debate: What Causes Migration? An interview with Manuel Pérez-Rocha
The New York Times reports: “On Wednesday, the AFL-CIO announced it would spend more than $1 million in five districts over the next two weeks on television ads that sharply blame Republicans for the lack of immigration action in the House.”
Earlier this week, USA Today reported “Obama Renews Push for an Immigration Overhaul,” noting: “The business executives who attended Tuesday’s meeting with Obama included Roger Altman, founder and chairman of Evercore Partners; Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solution; Joe Echevarria, CEO of Deloitte; Marillyn Hewson, CEO and president of Lockheed Martin; Edward Rust, chairman and CEO of State Farm; Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott; Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone; and Don Thompson, president and CEO of McDonalds.”
More about this week’s guests:
Maurice Carney is the Executive Director of Friends of the Congo. He is an independent entrepreneur and human rights activist who has fought with Congolese for fifteen years in their struggle for human dignity and control of their country. He has worked as a research analyst at the nation’s leading Black think tank the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. While at the Joint Center, Mr. Carney worked with civic associations in West Africa providing training on research methodology and survey. He served as the interim Africa working group coordinator for Reverend Jesse Jackson while he was Special Envoy to Africa. Mr. Carney also worked as a research consultant to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation addressing issues such as the socio-politcal condition of African American communities.
Quote: “Contrary to many media reports, the M23 announcement that they are laying down their arms does not end the conflict in Congo. The story is really whether this is the end of Rwanda’s intervention. Ultimately a political solution is needed between DRC and U.S. ally Rwanda whereby Rwanda ceases its interventions in DRC. A sign that we are on this path will be when Rwanda turns over the many war criminals who are in Rwanda and wanted in Congo for the mass crimes that they have committed.The long overdue pressure placed on Rwanda by the U.S. and UK was critical to bringing an end to Rwanda’s latest proxy, M23, in the DRC since 1996. A second structural obstacle must be tackled to advance peace in the Congo — a legitimate government that can act in and protect the interests of the Congolese people. It is vital that we keep the pressure on the U.S. government to cease its support of strongmen in the heart of Africa. … The Congo has seen the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II, with an estimated 6 million killed.”
Manuel Pérez-Rocha helps to coordinate the Networking for Justice on Global Investment project, as part of the IPS Global Economy Project. In this role, he works together with allies at the Democracy Center in Bolivia and organizations in several countries. Prior to that, he directed “The NAFTA Plus and the SPP Advocacy Project,” as part of the Global Economy Project. He is a Mexican national who has led tri-national efforts to promote just and sustainable alternative approaches to North American economic integration for more than a decade.
Prior to moving to Washington, DC in 2006, he worked for many years with the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC) and continues to be a member of that coalition’s executive committee. For the past several years, he has also contributed to the Alternative Regionalisms project of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, and worked as a consultant to Oxfam International on trade issues in the Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean region.
Manuel studied International Relations at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and holds a M.A. on Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) at The Hague, Netherlands.
Quote: “The big question ‘What causes migration?’ is constantly missing in the immigration debate in the United States. That is, the push factors — or what is it that pushes millions of Mexicans and Central Americans to migrate? An important push factor is U.S. policy. The destruction of local economies and rural livelihoods by IMF and World Bank structural adjustment policies since the 80s and more recently by U.S.-led free trade agreements like NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], as well as DR-CAFTA [Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement], is what forces so many workers to look for jobs, and get money to send back home to their impoverished families — not the search for the ever more elusive ‘American dream.’ In Mexico the myth of a growing ‘middle class’ has been busted by official figures that indicate that most Mexicans are poor and belong to the working class. And while some applaud the recovery of Mexico’s manufacturing sector, this is due to the fact that Mexico’s wages are even lower than China’s. This may be beneficial for investors but it is detrimental to the Mexican worker, and ultimately migration to the U.S. may resume. One of the reasons why it has slowed down is the downturn of the U.S. economy, but if it picks up, the push for migration will resume.”
Note: NAFTA reaches its 20th anniversary on January 1, 2014.
On this weeks show we continue our look at the so-called ‘War on Terror’ with a look at the call for expansion of biometric surveillance in the wake of the Boston Marathon attack:
- The Risks of Expanding Biometric Cybersurveillance – an interview with Margaret Hu
- Listener calls
More about this week’s guests:
Margaret Hu is an assistant professor at Duke Law School and author of the forthcoming article “Biometric ID Cybersurveillance” in the Indiana Law Journal. She said today: “Some members of Congress have argued that Comprehensive Immigration Reform should be delayed in light of the Boston bombing. Others will likely call for more surveillance measures through the proposed immigration reform legislation. Quote:
“More surveillance risks this problem: turning all U.S. citizens and all lawful immigrants into potential terrorist suspects. In fact, the bipartisan Senate comprehensive immigration reform proposal that was released last week already showed signs of multiple surveillance cancers, even before the bombing. The bill includes the significant expansion of various cybersurveillance and data surveillance (dataveillance) measures. For example, it significantly increases the use of drones for border security. It also increases biometric dataveillance and the likelihood that a universal biometric database would be needed to carry out new programs created by the bill. A universal digital photo database of all citizens and non-citizens, for example, could be used by the drone program (DHS and local law enforcement) for nearly invisible tracking. Specifically, Section 3102 gives $1 billion to the Social Security Administration to develop a ‘fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear-resistant, and identity theft-resistant’ Social Security Card. Previous debates on immigration reform have explained that a ‘high-tech’ Social Security Card will resemble a credit card and will include biometric data (e.g., digital photo, maybe fingerprint and iris scans, and at least one member of Congress suggested DNA). Section 3103 states: ‘Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary [of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security] shall submit a report to Congress on the feasibility, advantages, and disadvantages of including, in addition to a photograph, other biometric information on each employment authorization document issued by the Department.’ In short, the bill incorporates multiple provisions that include a dramatic expansion of both biometric data collection protocols and biometric database screening protocols. To protect the foundational principles of a democratic society, we need less surveillance not more. Mass biometric data collection and suspicionless cybersurveillance measures that treat all Americans and immigrants like potential terrorist suspects won’t make us safer.”