FEATURING SANHO TREE - It has been a year since the Philippines' new president Rodrigo Duterte took office and over the course of the year, it is reported that Mr. Duterte has been responsible for the extra-judicial killings of 7,000 people in the name of the "drug war." There is almost no modern-day comparison to a democratically elected leader who has been so openly responsible for so much bloodshed. And yet Duterte has received praise from the likes of Donald Trump and as he begins the second year of his tenure, he enjoys a whopping 75-80% approval rating among Filipinos. Find more at www.ips-dc.org. Sanho Tree, Fellow, Drug Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
FEATURING RAMESH SRINIVASAN - Just as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is celebrating the 2 billion-user mark for his social media outlet, an in-depth investigative report by Propublica has found that Facebook's tools to filter out hate speech are deeply problematic. A series of internal documents obtained by the investigative media outlet found that Facebook identifies "protected categories" of people based on "race, sex, gender identity, religious affiliation, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation and serious disability/disease." But when users attack "subsets" of protected categories there is a lot of leeway. Among the documents leaked were a set of slides that Facebook uses to to train its army of monitors. One particularly damning slide displays three photos of female drivers, black children, and white men. The questions asks, "which of the below subsets do we protect?" and the correct answer is apparently "white men." Find more at www.rameshsrinivasan.org. Ramesh Srinivasan, Director of the
FEATURING GEORGE ZORNICK - The NRA, which spent tens of millions of dollars to help elect Donald Trump, has recently posted to its Facebook page a terrifying video aimed at progressives. Conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch is the video's narrator and she begins by saying, "They use their media to assassinate real news." She goes on to say that teachers are teaching children to think of Trump as Hitler and imply that President Barack Obama is backing the resistance to Trump and inciting people to "smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports," and "bully and terrorize the law-abiding." Loesch concludes that, "the only option is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness." The video ends claiming that the NRA is "freedom's safest place." But my guest George Zornick, the Nation's Washington editor has a cover story in the latest edition of the magazine.
FEATURING NOOR ZAFAR - The Trump Administration has just released a set of guidelines for visa applicants from 6 nations that were singled out in the Muslim ban that the President has been trying to implement since he took office. The guidelines are in response to the US Supreme Court's decision to take on legal challenges to Trump's executive orders this fall. Shockingly justices voted unanimously to allow a partial version of the ban to take effect immediately, which the new set of guidelines are attempting to follow. New visa applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must show they have a "bona-fide relationship" with someone in the US. When Mr. Trump issued his first version of the Muslim ban in January, chaos and confusion abounded at airports around the country as incoming tourists, students, and refugees were held in detention, had their visas revoked, and many simply
FEATURING GEORGE TURNER - The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published a new report citing "massive progress" on off shore tax havens as an attempt to address the embarrassing revelations from the so-called Panama Papers two years ago. But the progress cited in the report is so optimistic that only one nation is singled out for being non-compliant with information sharing standards: Trinidad and Tobago. The UK-based Tax Justice Network denounced the report as an "empty 'tax haven' blacklist," and a "meaningless gesture." More information at www.taxjustice.net. George Turner, Researcher with the UK-based Tax Justice Network.
FEATURING SCOTT EDWARDS - Donald Trump's EPA and Army Corps of Engineers announced on Tuesday their intention to rescind the 2015 Clean Water Rule. The announcement is the latest in the Trump administration's plan to roll back Obama-era protections of public resources. The 2015 Clean Water Rule, known as the Waters of the United States rule expanded the definition of what warranted protections including streams and rivers. Big agribusinesses in particular rely on being able to pollute certain waterways. But all waters connect and the rescinding of the 2015 rule is likely to impact the future safety of water overall. The rule had never taken effect due to a hold by a Federal Appeals court. More information at www.foodandwaterwatch.org. Scott Edwards, Co-director Food & Water Justice at Food & Water Watch.
FEATURING BARRY LYNN - The US Supreme Court on Monday made a series of decisions that left many Americans reeling. First and most shockingly all nine justices unanimously handed Donald Trump a victory on his controversial Muslim ban that so many lower courts had repudiated. Justices decided to let parts of the ban take effect until the court decided to hear the case against it in the Fall. The court also agreed to hear a case of a Colorado bakery that said it had the right to refuse service to a gay couple on the basis of the owner's religious rights. And, the court ruled in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Missouri receiving tax funds to restore a playground on its property. All three issues touch on a central tenet of American democracy: the separation of church and state. Find more at www.au.org. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans
FEATURING WILLIAM HARTUNG - Saudi Arabia launched new airstrikes on the impoverished nation of Yemen during Eid-al-Fitr celebrations, killing 10 civilians and injuring many others. Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest buyer of weapons, and a significant number of its weapons are obtained from the United States, weapons which it has used in Yemen with the US's blessing starting under President Obama. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia also managed to convince President Trump that Qatar is a financier of terrorism and has submitted a list of demands to Qatar this week as a condition for lifting an embargo. The list of demands includes limitless financial reparations and the closure of the Qatar-based international news organization, Al Jazeera. Trump has had business interests in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf Arab nations for years before he became President. Are US-Saudi relations under Trump consistent with past ties, or is it
FEATURING KATRINA VANDEN HUEVEL - Three CNN journalists have resigned in the wake of a retracted news story about links between a Trump advisor and Russian business interests. Earlier this week CNN ran a story about a congressional investigation into Anthony Scaramucci, which quickly came under question before the network pulled it. President Trump has declared the US media, "the enemy of the people," and many journalists have taken the charge seriously and pushed back delivering in-depth coverage of the inner workings of the White House, and covered the hearings on the Trump administration's links to Russia. But is it enough? In a recent column for the Washington Post, publisher and editor of The Nation magazine Katrina vanden Huevel wrote, "the mainstream media’s prevailing focus on palace intrigue and White House scandals has come at the expense of substantive policy coverage." Follow Katrina on Twitter @KatrinaNation. Katrina vanden Huevel, publisher and editor
FEATURING MELVIN GOODMAN - Melvin Goodman's long career as a respected intelligence analyst at the CIA, specializing in US/Soviet relations, ended abruptly. In 1990, after twenty-four years of service, Goodman resigned when he could no longer tolerate the corruption he witnessed at the highest levels of the Agency. In 1991 he went public, blowing the whistle on top-level officials and leading the opposition against the appointment of Robert Gates as CIA director. In the widely covered Senate hearings, Goodman charged that Gates and others had subverted "the process and the ethics of intelligence" by deliberately misinforming the White House about major world events and covert operations. In a new exposé called Whistleblower at the CIA, Goodman tells the whole story. Retracing his career with the CIA, he presents a rare insider's account of the inner workings of America's intelligence community, and the corruption, intimidation, and misinformation that led to disastrous