FEATURING ARUN GUPTA - Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided several Los Angeles area businesses over a 5-day period in mid-February that resulted in 212 arrests. The raids are part of a significant ramping up of immigration enforcement under President Donald Trump and came at the same time as the US Senate on Thursday took up and rejected four separate proposals on immigration. At the heart of the immigration debate is the fate of "Dreamers," or undocumented youth who were eligible for the Obama-era plan called DACA. Trump canceled the program that enabled them to defer deportation and work or study in the US. Lawmakers have until March 5th to fix the mess that Trump created, which is the deadline that DACA finally expires. Trump has put forward his own plan for immigration reform that offers some measure of protection for Dreamers at the expense of massively increased enforcement and major
FEATURING AI WEIWEI - The famed dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has taken on the most urgent humanitarian issues of our time: the global refugee crisis. In a new documentary called Human Flow, Ai Weiwei explores the human cost of war, violence, and climate change that has made refugees of 65 million people. Traveling with his camera crew to 23 countries over the course of a year, Ai Weiwei captured in intimate moments, the desperation that has driven refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, Palestine, and Myanmar to risk their lives escaping violence. The film is sweeping and vast, with drone-camera shots showcasing in aerial shots the vast extent of the crisis. But it is also personal as we see a father cry over the loss of his entire family on a boat, two brothers tearfully promise to follow one another across continents, a grandmother complain about the labyrinth of
FEATURING HUWAIDA ARRAF- Seventeen-year old Ahed Tamimi and her mother - prominent Palestinian activists - are being tried in an Israeli court behind closed doors. The teenager, who was arrested when she was 16, has spent months in prison after being captured on video responding with anger to an Israeli soldier who had just shot her cousin in the face. Tamimi's case has captured the attention of the press and activists worldwide. Her trial comes at the same time that Israel is considering a controversial "Jewish nation-state" bill that will enshrine inequality between Jews and non-Jews. Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, notorious for her disdain for Palestinian rights, said in a public speech on Monday, "There is place to maintain a Jewish majority even at the price of violation of rights." Shaked has been widely viewed as a potential future President. And that position may soon be vacant as current
FEATURING DR. STEPHEN ZUNES - Despite the fact that Islamic State forces have retreated, the complicated war in Syria appears to be expanding rather than wrapping up. The United States is under fire this week for an attack in Eastern Syria that at first reportedly killed about 100 Syrian national soldiers loyal to President Bashar Al Assad. Now it has emerged that several, possibly dozens, of Russian fighters are among the dead. Meanwhile the Syrian Air Force reportedly shot down an Israeli fighter jet in recent days, saying it was responding to an Israeli incursion. The clash came after Israel reportedly shot down an Iranian drone coming from Syrian air space. According to Syrian sources, Israel has also tried to raid Syrian military bases. Turkey has continued its targeting of Kurdish communities in Northern Syria's newly liberated areas as well. Instead of the Syria war winding down, there seems to
FEATURING RICHARD (RJ) ESKOW - Soon after Congress voted on a massive 2-year spending plan for the government, President Donald Trump released his official White House budget outlining his priorities, and by all accounts it there were no surprises. Trump wants massive cuts to social programs that benefit ordinary Americans, and boosts to the military and border security operations. The budget plan, unveiled with fanfare as massive book hundreds of pages long, includes cuts to Medicare - a program Trump promised not to touch during his presidential campaign. And, it cuts the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by more than a quarter. Trump's budget also significantly changes the way food stamps are issued, forcing poor Americans to buy unhealthy cheap food rather than fresh produce. Read Richard Eskow's articles www.ourfuture.org and www.thisisthezerohour.com. Richard (RJ) Eskow, host of The Zero Hour, a weekly radio program, and a Senior Fellow with the Campaign
FEATURING MUMIA ABU JAMAL - Is a political prisoner and award-winning journalist. He is the author of several books including Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?, Writing on the Wall, The Classroom and the Cell, and Jailhouse Lawyers. He files radio commentaries regularly at Prisonradio.org. Here is his latest commentary. Find his commentaries at prisonradio.org.
FEATURING ALDINA MESIC - A new study conducted at Boston University has lent greater credibility to the Black Lives Matter movement and to a travel advisory that the NAACP issued for African Americans traveling to the state of Missouri last year. Researchers at BU's School of Public Health ranked states in the nation by a "racism index" that was based on residential segregation and other markers of structural racism, and found that police killings of unarmed African Americans are correlated with that racism index. In other words, the more racist a state, the more likely black people were to be killed at the hands of police. Such research makes the case that rather than treating police killings of unarmed black Americans on a case-by-case basis, we have to view them within existing social frameworks. Aldina Mesic, Research Assistant at the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, lead
FEATURING RAMESH SRINIVASAN - The US Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats issued a warning about potential interference in the mid-term elections on Tuesday in his testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In referring to the 2016 general election, Coats said, "There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian midterm operations." The warning comes weeks after one of the world's most popular social media platform, Facebook, changed its secret algorithm for how newsfeeds appears. Facebook had come under fire from Congress for not catching fake news posts and provocative ad content from Russian sources that apparently helped artificially polarize the electorate in 2016. But Facebook's emphasis on posts from family and friends over news publications may have the opposite effect. Just days ago, Brazil's largest newspaper announced it would no
FEATURING JOHN FEFFER - The US's belligerent posturing on North Korea has been an embarrassment at the Winter Olympics taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Vice President Mike Pence's petulant disapproval of Korean unity was eclipsed by the poise of Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who appeared alongside South Korean leadership multiple times. When a unified Korean ice hockey team made its debut Mr. Pence was stalwart in his refusal to stand up and show support for the team. A spokesperson for the Vice President tweeted that, he would rather, "stand and cheer for U.S. athletes" than recognize "the most oppressive regime on earth." Read John Feffer's writings at www.fpif.org. John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. and a TomDispatch regular.
FEATURING RANDY BRYCE - A wave of progressive activists is running for Congressional seats in this year's mid-term elections attempting to change the partisan makeup of the House and Senate. Among them is a man challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin's First Congressional District. Sporting the moniker "Ironstache," an iron worker and US Army veteran Randy Bryce made waves recently when he raised money for his candidacy off of Ryan's tone-deaf tweet that boasted about helping a working woman make $1.50 extra a week in pay thanks to the Republican tax bill. Randy Bryce is hoping that his positions favoring single payer health care, a $15 an hour minimum wage, and climate justice will garner enough support to oust Paul Ryan. For more information about Randy Bryce's campaign visit www.randybryceforcongress.com. Randy Bryce, Congressional candidate for Wisconsin's First Congressional District, challenging Paul Ryan.