tv Breaking the Set RT August 6, 2013 2:29pm-3:01pm EDT
what's good folks welcome to breaking the set if you're wondering where abby martin is today don't worry she'll be right back here on monday she's just away on assignment but for now i want to talk about an interesting trend in several states across the country places like north carolina wisconsin and minnesota that have been revamping and introducing new legislation that largely largely caters to a single political party what we're seeing is a growing trend of a single party that controls the executive and legislative offices in any given state in fact there are currently thirty seven states where one party controls the majority vote and that's up from one thousand nine hundred eighty just a decade ago according to the milwaukee journal sentinel and you know this could explain why we're seeing a growing number of protests against extreme legislation on a state level in take for instance the recent abortion bill in texas or the voter laws in other states but really i think there's
a failure to address the real elephant in the room gerrymandering it seems that with every new election cycle new lines are being drawn in every state that look more like a five year old's coloring book than a state map and it's really becoming a systemic problem to see once a district has been redrawn to favor a specific political party that party almost always wins it brings us back to this disturbing trend we see today unbalanced state governments and you know we often talk about a two party dictatorship that defines the political establishment but in reality that trend that we're seeing today is that more states are being defined by a single party and while some states are seeing progressive social changes like same sex marriage or legalization of marijuana or more environmentally friendly policies other states are pushing sweeping discriminatory laws attacks on education spending and backtracking on civil liberties for example and really it's unfortunate because in a time when americans are growing more equal our laws today are actually depicting a society that's more divided than ever so if you think that's
a trend that needs to change that you've come to the right place now let's break the set. if you've ever seen anything like that. happy moral monday everyone now if you're confused what that means just take a trip down to north carolina for the last thirteen mondays thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest a whole host of north carolina laws just last week for example the carolina legislature passed what law experts have characterized as the most draconian ruling on registration and voting in the in the country but this isn't only can this isn't the only contentious piece of legislation that's come up this year i'm sorry republican governor pat mccrory has signed off on a myriad of controversial bills including one that completely slashes unemployment
benefits and another that appall it abolishes teacher tenure all of this points to what many in the new york times are calling quote the decline of north carolina so what exactly is going on in the state and are these moral mondays doing anything to turn the tide to talk about this and more i spoke earlier with john fortenberry an activist and independent journalist who's been closely following these demonstrations i first asked him what the spark was that took the people to the streets in the first place check it out. i believe the voter id law is really what sparked the whole movement. but it's been planning for a while the reverend dr barbour who leads the protest movement he's actually been working on building the progressive coalition for a number of years now and as soon as this legislation was put forth it was sort of just like you know the final straw for us to organize together so yes so this
started with these voter id laws what exactly were the changes that these that these that these ideal laws entailed by people so riled up in the first place. well they're. basically trying to make you have a government issued i.d. to vote which is going to make it harder for young people minorities who are elderly to be able to even vote. all the while there's no evidence of it or for our that's occurring in our state and it's going to make it hard for the three hundred eighteen thousand north carolinians without a valid id in the state right now and i mean from what i understand it's almost a non issue it's a solution looking for a problem but i want to ask you something about the actual name of these protests are called moral mondays is there a special significance behind why they are why why they're called this and whether taking place on monday as. well moral monday is the day monday doesn't have any significance but moral monday is we really just wanted to
make it to present a challenge a moral challenge to the moral policies that have passed since this new legislators taken office and we also we wanted to draw you know dramatize the shame shameful condition of our state through you know a moral challenge to these policies and this is something that i really find a very surprising that it's not getting a whole lot of corporate media attention i've been wanting to cover this for a while now you being in the state you know i follow you on social media you're always posting about this but one thing that i found very interesting is how many people have actually been arrested in connection to this every week more people are showing up to these events and the number of people that have been arrested since april it's reaching almost a thousand people john why so many arrests. well i think you know north carolinians have decided to come together and stand up for everyone's rights and not just the rights of a few. the civil disobedience movement that has now almost one thousand people
arrested in three months is just a side to our state that we're united together and we're going to move forward together now you mentioned something really interesting that you know the catalyst for this like you said was these voter id laws but you know it's clear that this at this point with with so many hundreds of people joining in this movement this goes far beyond these voter id laws and voting rights laws can you talk about what the other issues are that people are are coming out you know into the street and speaking out against. well it would be a whole show to talk about every issue but there are there are plenty of issues to go around you can start with the cuts to public education shifting ninety million dollars to voucher schools not giving teachers a raise in five years. basically we're putting us last in teacher pay and teacher quality in the entire united states we've cut unemployment insurance we've we've
got a new tax plan that gives cuts to the wealthy or raising taxes on ninety five percent of north carolinians all the while governor mccrory has given his cabinet increased . our state legislators have refused to expand medicaid to i think it's half a million north carolinians there's assaults on women's reproductive rights. assaults on equality. environ sounds like the list goes on you know from social programs to to changes in taxes there's things you know radically changing the racial disparity for the death penalty i mean like you said i think we'd have to spend the entire show talking about this and now that you've focused specifically on on schools and teachers that's something that you write a lot about but i want to ask about the effectiveness of these protests of these moral mondays from your experience from what you've been observing has there been any any change as a result of these of these demonstrations. well there hasn't been any change by the
policies that. made it into law but there has been a change in our movement we are more organized than we were say in two thousand and eight or two thousand and twelve and we're starting to realize the diversity of our coalition and how we can work together to move our nation and our state forward yeah i mean it seems that occupy wall street it seems that a lot of the roots of what's going on in north carolina seems to kind of it's very grassroots it's very dynamic it's very eclectic and i mean it's sad to hear that you know within its thirteenth week it's it's not getting the traction within you know making legislative changes that it that it should but i understand that you know there's a lot of special interests at play here that you're that you're fighting against can you talk about what some of the special interests are that that might be derailing the opposition to this to the government in north carolina sure there's
many a special interest to go around including you know duke energy the big power company here in north carolina. they want to make it easier for themselves to do business and kind of limit environmental regulations. you've got groups like. americans for prosperity. the american legislative exchange council and other groups who are very right wing in their. and their ideologies and. yeah it's really hard to fight these it's hard to fight these these strong groups that are kind of you know on the side of the political establishment john i do want to ask you you know to get your take north carolina traditionally it's been more of a moderate state compared to a lot of its southern counterparts. you know what do you think is causing this recent surge in conservatism and i know that it's it's not only happening in north
carolina it's happening in several other places but what do you think is causing this recent surge well i think you know it's it's a reaction. first off to the election of president obama. and then i also feel that it's too many conservatives it's a perceived threat they feel their religion is under fire and so it's really it's sort of reminds me of the redeemer movement in the south. back in the early one nine hundred six when actually democrats of the time redeemed the south. in favor of white people and white dominance. that seems to be how these guys are doing things today yeah and john these protests are now you know being monday today there was a large protest being organized in asheville so it's obvious that these protests are or are expanding far beyond just charlotte where they were isolated before they
were in other parts of the state is that the goal with this movement to kind of make it a statewide movement. yes so after the last moral monday our mission became to localize this effort and so what we're going to be doing in boone north carolina as well as asheville charlotte raleigh chapel hill everywhere else across the state is to focus heavily on voter registration drives and then secondly on voter information we want to inform people of the decisions that have been made and let people know that this is what happens when you don't show up to vote and state elections we can't just sit by idly and only vote in presidential elections we need to realize the importance of every election right and i know that you're doing a lot of good work out north carolina trying to kind of rally support for this movement john for those you know it's clear that this type of extreme legislation isn't happening only in north carolina for people that want to kind of learn
a little bit more about these policies in the state maybe their state and how they could get involved and learn more about moral mondays in north carolina where can they find this information. well there is a facebook site more on monday and you can also go to the north carolina. website to find out more about the local organizing we also have various committees throughout the state and we have the boon direct action committee will be focusing on getting out the vote registering voters and informing voters of you know the decisions they have before them john thank you so much for your time and stopping by today that was john fortenberry activist and independent journalist in north carolina thanks again thank you manage. all right guys after the break we'll talk about the hunger strike at guantanamo bay as it reaches its six month mark.
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guys controversy plagues the u.s. has most notorious offshore prison guantanamo if the spite the backlash against its continued use the prison is in its twelfth year of operation and with little sign of closing any time soon now aside from having the apt title of most expensive prison on the planet it was also a beacon for multiple human rights violations namely the indefinite incarceration of dozens of men many of whom have already been cleared for release it's an issue we here at r t have been at the forefront of fact tomorrow this network will begin special coverage of guantanamo in a way you won't see on the corporate media so to talk about the latest in the fight to close the detention center i'm joined now by our political commentator sam sex
little bit sam how are you doing well i like your promo i want to maybe next time incorporated. i think the most pressing question when it comes to guantanamo right now is you know twelve years on all the rhetoric that we've heard from the obama administration all this talk for years now that it needs to be closed you know what's keeping this facility open certainly there's a lot of blame to put on the obama administration but we also have to go back and look at the bush administration because this was created under the bush administration two thousand and two it was created in dick cheney openly says this they wanted to put a facility off u.s. soil so that they can get around certain rights that these detainees would have if they were on u.s. soil and also the bush administration committed torture to get a lot of this information a lot of the detainees here so here we are twelve years later there's eighty six that are cleared to go as asked for why those eighty six haven't been released to me that's probably politics of fear president obama's afraid that if you release of these people they might commit some terrorist act in the future really that's not a way to govern out of fear the rest of these detainees are people who the
government feels that they have a strong case against that they've done something wrong but none of the evidence they've gathered is permissible in court so they can't exactly hold them to this normal trial so instead they're just leaving them there. definitely it's poor planning was shortsighted planning to create this facility and that was just fear that's keeping it open twelve years later here's the thing i do hear that kind of rhetoric coming from a large part of the political establishment you mention the bush years but a lot of the obama's advisors right now i mean these are people that have been around since the since the bush years or even before that now when you have national security advisers and military officials and people within obama's own cabinet and people in congress saying you know you know the risks are higher of keeping this open than actually shutting down this president. obama comes back and says look this is all on congress congress is preventing the closure of guantanamo is there any merit to this sam the congress has made the job harder they've put in with each defense spending bill each year they've put in these restrictions like no
no prisoner transfer bans to to countries that are. activities no funding to build any facility in the united states to transfer prisoners stuff like that but there was one crucial component that democratic senator carl levin included in the last defended defense spending bill that gave the president it out and it was a national security waiver that said that the president can instruct the pentagon to release any of these detainees prisoners anywhere if it's in the name of national security now the president has routinely said that keeping a long time to open goes against our national security interests that's being used as a recruitment tool so one of the justification he could start releasing prisoners using this national security waiver and he hasn't done it senator carl levin wrote him a letter a few months ago saying i have fought hard to include this waiver for you to use it please use it the president still has yet to use it we can go back and forth on whether or not president obama has has the right avenues to do this but the fact of the matter is that there are some strong forces at play that i think are happening within the u.s. congress that are that are kind of also something to know and i want to read
a quick quote from you this is a quote from senator ted cruz who said and i wonder if we can pull up this quote real quick until we are presented with a good viable strategy for what to do with terrorists who would work night and day to murder innocent americans. i have a hard time seeing how it is responsible to shut down our detention facilities and send these individuals home here's my question sam half of these guys at guantanamo have already been cleared for release deemed innocent in other words they're not terrorists so is ted cruz living under a rock or what exactly is motivating how can how can a senator justify the indefinite detention of an innocent human being that's that's what i will this is the power of this politics of fear that you know you guys on this show talk about so often here and that's really what's really thinks is the same argument when people make the argument that let's let's transfer these detainees out of guantanamo bay put them somewhere in the united states and put them on trial and you hear these senators say i don't want any of these terrorists walking around in my backyard or in my constituents backyard is their walking time
bombs that might just explode so the case these are individuals here and we already have hundreds of terror suspects already in the u.s. court system in the u.s. prison system and nobody even knows they're not a problem here it's fear that striving this and it's it's really perpetuating the war on terror this indefinite war on terror that's now been going on twelve years as long as we know that there are still people who want to hurt us even just a one time obey it perpetuates the entire war on terror and i think you hit the nail on the head with this politics of fear thing because it's obviously not about the funds we just found out that the actual cost for maintaining guantanamo's is actually jumped up significantly department of defense just said that it's costing about two point seven million dollars per inmate per year it's officially the most accent expensive prison on the planet so obviously this what would otherwise be a watershed moment for the more fiscally conservative members is obviously this is a time of so-called austerity where we speak out and yet we're operating in the most expensive prison in the world indefinitely here then we have here in just
there was a debate over more funding to upgrade the brightness of course but we're running out of time i want to ask you about this hunger strike report we're approaching the six month mark on this hunger strike what effect exactly has this had well i think it's had some effect it's got. president talking about the hunger strike again he had tried to talk about it for a while he's looked at his own transfer back to yemen he's installed a new people in the state department the defense department to process finding new places for these detainees and he's announced he's going to start releasing two detainees to algeria the prison this hunger strike is very important the president was asked why he keeps force feeding these get more force feeding is been referred to is inhumane torture by the u.n. american medical association he's asked why he keeps doing this he says because he wants to keep these individuals alive that's not exactly what i said i do have to cut you off because we're running out of time but we're very much looking forward to seeing your special coverage of going to animal which starts tomorrow same sex political commentator thanks so much. i.
i scan tools and oh my folks these are all characteristics of one thing politics well politicians rather over the years we've seen a number of elected representatives get mired down in cheating scandals many of which resulted in resignation from their seated position like former new york rep anthony weiner was in his seventh term of congress when he resigned from the house in two thousand and eleven and that scandal over lewd photos that were sent via twitter and now running for new york city now he's running for mayor he may have once again hit a roadblock over the revelation that is lewd conduct and continued post resignation not surprisingly the corporate media has been in a frenzy over this but is the chatter over winter day two point zero really just much to say about nothing to talk about just that i'm joined by our team news producer rachel craziness how are you rachel i'm doing well and you manny i'm great
i'm hosting at the show i hope people can forgive me. and i know i wanted to ask you specifically because we do call it the corporate media lot for this sensation less covers that they give to these sex scandals what do you think it is that gives the corporate media the slight. since to ignore everything else that's going on in the world and just focus for days and weeks on end on the sex scandals it's click bait and the i think that it really just comes down to that when you see something that says we are or something like that how do you not want to click on that and see exactly what's coming next so i think what happens is the corporate media sees that this increases their profits right people are watching because they want to know what's going on with the you know it's it's the equivalent of a kind of celebrity sex scandal for the political class because for them these are their celebrities these are the people that they like to follow and cover the ins and outs of their lives so except scandal for them is just kind of that same rumor mill going around and around and in the case of anthony weiner this isn't a rumor mill i mean you go on and on line and you can see anthony weiner says you could see that i was in the room or yeah i wanted to play you
a clip don't have the clip of of his campaign but essentially what he's saying is you know i fought hard for the people of new york when i was in congress i deserve a second chance so you know looking back at the new record not as we know and then we could record and knowing that you know this isn't just a sex scandal this past this is a sex scandal that may or may not be ongoing should people actually be concerned looking at his record and focusing on the more so because i feel personally i feel like the real message of what people has been talking about is you know the wiener part of anthony weiner and i think that a couple of people you know maybe anywhere from six to ten women have already gotten you know wiener in their inbox is the rest of america has been able to see wiener for years and i think that that's what they should really be evaluating right now looking at anthony weiner such a slate of record he served over a decade in congress and had one bill to his name so for all the times you saw months c.n.n. fox news really acting as a talking head and an attack dog in many ways for the democratic party and the
liberal wing of the democratic party in particular he certainly doesn't have a very strong legislative record there's been absolutely no proof that he does a good job in positions of power in terms of negotiating with people and making things happen so for anthony. we need to be focusing on what's in his inbox rather than his legislative record i agree with you in many ways so it's considered a boon for him because there is not really a legislative record to speak of here so for someone like anthony weiner he's able to talk about things you know all the has to do at this point is apologize for those lewd photos and as long as he does that people are seeing him as somehow in the clear and it does do you think that this translates across the board for everybody because i mean we were looking at san diego mayor bob filner right now this guy a nother woman the tenth woman has come out saying that you know she said she was sexually harassed by him yet he's not resigning he's going for two weeks of rehab i mean first of all i find a little bit a little bit odd but is this something that goes across the board i mean like you
said earlier we give celebrity status to these sex scandals so in the long run you know for anthony weiner for bob filner for mark sanford for eliot spitzer it seems like the trend has been that it's a positive a positive thing to be involved in the race are not necessarily a positive thing but that it's not a negative as much i want to draw a quick distinction between filner and when it was a different bill the biggest well there are a couple of the i'd say the biggest difference between winter and phil right now is that the voters know anthony weiner likes to send the text messages and now they can evaluate that along with the rest of their information when they decide whether or not they're going to vote for anthony weiner in the democratic primary that's not the case with filner he's already the mayor and he thinks that two weeks of rehab are going to make up for what seems like systemic habitual harassment of his own employees and other people in san diego i don't think that's going to fly in the same way right if he wants to leave office he needs to either resign get recalled or die a recall is going to cost anywhere between three to six million dollars more than one hundred thousand signatures are going to be needed and it's not going to happen
until mid two thousand and fourteen so for someone like bob filner he is spending his c.d.'s and i mean he's been in power for less than a year and he thinks that he's so important to san diego that his sexual harassment doesn't matter and the huge bill that he's leaving his constituency. it won't matter and i think that that's that's the huge difference between the two of them other than the question of consent anthony weiner was sending back for the most part lewd pictures with people who wanted to get them you might not want to get them out i want to get them there are some people who want to see winners wheater and with filner it seemed very clear right on because you didn't foresee we're out of time we call it the mainstream media for quote for covering these stories and socially but really there's a lot of merit and a lot that really does need to be said about these stories thank you for coming on the show. producer rachel courteous. all right that's it for today guys have a great night thank you for putting up with me he's. you
the force feeding of it make some fresh claims of sexual abuse by god's grip. a prison or a mass hunger strike scented its seventh month. before its of yet another massacre emerge and syria were up to four hundred fifty kurdish civilians said to have been killed by al-qaeda linked rebels. and as a rand is new president hassan rouhani says he's open to talks on the country's nuclear program we ask how willing is washington to play ball.